More ATVs for Vancouver beaches?
VPD ATV Beach Patrol. Photo by Jeff Werner
All things considered, Vancouver’s beaches are pretty safe spaces. They’re particularly well used during the summer months, and the actual layout of the spaces – wide tracts of sunny sand – enables a form of natural person-to-person surveillance. Folks people watch and look at — and out — for one another. Had she been asked, Jane Jacobs might have called the formula “eyes on the beach.”
For these reasons and more, the VPSN is concerned that the Vancouver Police Department is proposing to purchase three ATVs with which to supplement its beach patrols. They’ve already got a few in the fleet as it is, so the intent is to add new ATVs to the already questionable existing stock.
Perhaps we’re still a little taken about about the recent acquisition of an armoured Brinks-style truck to deal with the City’s terrorist and sniper threats (!), but it seems a bit much, no? Are foot and bike patrols of uniformed and plain clothes officers really that ineffectual?
City staff have, on behalf of the cop shop, put a report out that will be in front of Council today. It requests over $20K to support the acquisition of 2/3 ATVs (funding for one is already being provided out of the Police Foundation piggybank). We wrote a letter in response and have excerpted it below.
Fingers crossed our beaches stay peaceful, crime free and ATV free.
:: To comment on this report – email MayorandCouncil [at] vancouver.ca.
The Vancouver Public Space Network is concerned about the City of Vancouver’s proposed financial support for the Vancouver Police Department’s procurement of three all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for the purpose of beach patrols. It is our position that other methods and modes should be more fully explored before making this commitment. The people enjoying the public beaches of Vancouver – as reflected in the survey cited in the proposal’s accompanying administrative report – have expressed concerns regarding the invasive and aggressive nature of the vehicles, as well as their environmental impacts. The VPSN feels that further research should be carried out to explore alternative ways that public safety can be ensured on city beaches, without requiring the purchase and deployment of these vehicles.
As an organization, we share the City’s interest in “ensuring Vancouver’s streets, parks, beaches and public spaces are safe, pleasant and welcoming for everyone.” We do not believe that the case has sufficiently or convincingly been made that having ATVs patrol our beaches is necessary to achieve that goal. We are eager to engage with the City further on this issue, and would enthusiastically work with you in the exploration of alternatives.