Removing viaducts benefits developers − not the average resident, seven in ten Metro Vancouverites say

A large majority (71%) of Metro Vancouver residents believe that the recent decision by Vancouver City Council to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts only benefits developers, and not the average resident, a new poll has found.

An even larger majority(85%) thinks that there is no guarantee that the housing associated with the removal of the viaducts will be affordable, the Insights West survey shows.

In addition, 70% think the removal will increase traffic in the area, and 58% expect it will make it more difficult for people to get to BC Place stadium.

Two-thirds (68%) believe the cost of removing the viaducts—estimated at $200 million—would be better spent on other projects the city needs.

The survey shows that 40% of the residents oppose the decision to remove the viaducts while only 36% support it, with almost a quarter of the respondents (23%) remaining unsure.

Support for the removal of the viaducts is highest among men (40%) and residents aged 18-to-34 (39%).

In the city of Vancouver, supporters of City Council’s decision outnumber opponents (45% to 36%), in contrast to the rest of Metro Vancouver, where opposition is stronger (42% to 32%).

Across Metro Vancouver, 73% of residents are either “very familiar” or “moderately familiar” with discussions related to the future of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.

When asked about four proposed benefits that the removal of the viaducts may bring, a majority of Metro Vancouverites say that it will increase park space in downtown Vancouver (58%) and create opportunities for new housing (57%). but only 48% feel that it saves money because no seismic upgrades will be needed, and less than a third (32%) believe the removal will lead people to walk more and use their cars less.

“There is no consensus on the removal of the viaducts in Metro Vancouver,” Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West, said. “It is important to note that even supporters of Vancouver City Council’s decision are looking at developers, and not citizens, as the clear beneficiaries of this course of action.”

Three-in-four Metro Vancouverites (75%) would like Vancouver City Council to consider the costs and benefits of other options, including rehabilitation and replacement, before removing the viaducts.

Results are based on an online study of a representative sample conducted from October 30 to November 2, 2015, among 547 adult residents of Metro Vancouver, with a margin of error of ± 4.2 percentage points.

[Photo Credit: City of Vancouver Archive]