A “freaking gong show” – that’s how Richmond Coun. Kelly Greene described the streets of Steveston at Monday’s committee meeting.
After a quiet, rainy Canada Day when some streets in Steveston had reduced access for cars – a move endorsed by council – council asked city staff to continue monitoring the situation, rather than reduce traffic again at this point.
However, Greene and Coun. Bill McNulty both reiterated the dangers of allowing people to gather in groups in the popular neighbourhood that becomes especially busy on sunny days.
Greene reported seeing a dozen people congregated waiting for pizza and others walking around in close proximity, despite warnings from provincial health officials to stay at least six feet apart to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
City staff had consulted with businesses about closing Moncton Street and turning Bayview Street into a one-way, but this was opposed by several businesses.
However, McNulty said there is no unanimity among businesses, and the previous consultation report showed contradictions in their comments.
While he said Richmond wants tourists “in a normal time,” now it’s too much, for example, during prawn sales, he saw people standing “shoulder to shoulder.”
“When people get to Steveston, they forget there’s a pandemic,” McNulty said.
There were five responses to a survey of businesses after the reduction in access – four against any closures and one in favour. One business, however, gave its feedback before the Canada Day closure.