Tuesday, December 19, 2006

stanley park and the crown jewel thief





Wow! What a difference a few days makes. That wind storm/hurricane that passed through on Friday has ripped the jewel of Stanley Park from Vancouver's crown.

Thousands of trees were blown down, ripped asunder, etc. I saw news reports in which people were in tears. The Parks Board does not have the money to carry out a clean-up, and there has been talk of logging companies being offered the wood for free if they come in and help with the clean-up.

It is ironic that I did a post a few weeks ago in which I suggested that Stanley Park be logged and developed to alleviate Vancouver's "land shortage", and not long after, in what seems a strange prescience, that is happening - right down to the logging crews, and talk on the radio (CBC today), of using the lumber to "help with the housing crisis"...

The area that boasts the train and concession stands was dense forest until 1962, when another fierce storm cleared that area. I had nothing to do with what has happened since. Honest! But perhaps my tongue-in-cheek idea is not so far-fetched now. It will be a good hundred years before Stanley Park resembles what it did until just last week.

The Parks Board is talking of community tree planting bees to "replace" what has been lost. The park is closed, and the public has been asked to stay away while the clean-up is carried out. I have heard mention of a year being necessary to do so.

It is known that many homeless people live in the park, and not all have been accounted for. It is possible that some lie beneath the wreckage, though that has not been confirmed.

Stanley Park is the heart of Vancouver - much as Central Park is to NYC (though Stanley Park was much more magnificent). Both parks have about 8 million visitors a year, with Stanley Park being slightly larger in area. Both are world-famous tourist attractions. Stanley Park will not attract so many now, I don't think.

What fierce wind will blow through the Vancouver real estate market and cause it to crash like so many trees did last Friday?



Images from various sources - Flickr, CBC, CTV. I have not had the chance to get down there and get my own photo's, and have not found too many on the 'net.

Update:

The latest word from the Parks Board, and the police, is that there are about 20 people known to be living in Stanley Park, and all have been accounted for.

Apparently, 9 of every 10 trees in the park were blown down (in the hardest hit parts. No word on what percentage of the park that is), or otherwise destroyed. It's a crying shame. The footage that I have seen reveals extraordinary damage. Entire sections of pavement along the seawall ripped up and blown away, landslides, etc.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sol,

This looks horrible, I only caught the story this morning on Global when they showed some helicopter shots.

Had no idea it was that bad, looked like a clear-cut in progress, only worse.

Previously, they were talking like it was just some trees blew down in the cause-way making a problem for traffic. It's a lot worse than that

Thanks for the pics - I couldn't find any.

solipsist said...

Thanks for posting anon.

It is a crushing blow (no pun intended). Very sad indeed.

I will try to get down there for some photo's, there is a dearth of them to be found. I guess the City does not want to advertise the clear-cut.

Vancouver is taking it's lumps these days. I wonder if it is a harbinger of worse things to come?

It reminds me of the saying - pride comes before the fall. It's almost as if the gods are punishing the city for it's hubris.

patiently waiting said...

Its bad but I've seen worse. I experienced Hurricane Juan and what it did to Halifax, including Point Pleasant Park.
After the initial shock, you reflect on what really happened. This is nature. Windstorms have always blown down forests with certain weaknesses. Point Pleasant Park was especially bad due to poor management: uniform stands of trees, all the same species, large size and old age in depleted soil (was Stanley Park like this?).
The Point Pleasant Park trees fell like dominoes. It was breathtaking destruction. The whole park was closed for a year or so IIRC. But you pick up the pieces and build a new park. Parks, here and there, are a lot more than just the trees. And the old, dead trees will be replaced with young trees, as it should be. Stanley Park will bounce back a lot quick than Point Pleasant.
Judging from the aerial photos, Point Pleasant suffered at least three or four times worse in terms of percent of trees lost...just a guess.

As for the logs helping the housing crisis? We are already building more than enough units. Its just a question of evil speculators screwing with availability.

solipsist said...

As for the logs helping the housing crisis? We are already building more than enough units. Its just a question of evil speculators screwing with availability.

Agreed patient. (Don't forget media marketing hype though, and the gullability of the masses.} I thought that it was a ridiculous idea, and commentators on the radio did too.

I also agree about Hurricane Juan, and Halifax. Actually, I agree with all that you said.

Thanks for posting.

wannaget2calgary said...

It's almost as if the gods are punishing the city for it's hubris.

Strange weather these days. Strange days. Strange times. Is it only Vancouver? Is it elsewhere? Things come in cycles, how long since was weather last in this state? Will Vancouver drift towards increasingly hostile winters? Will Regina become a tropical paradise? Will the Arctic Ocean be ice-free a scarce three decades after the 2010 Winter Olympics?

Babybull40 said...

It's a sad sad day .. I was shocked too when I heard about Stanley Park. It it much more magnificent than Central Park.. I have been there and it was breathtaking.. even with the homeless living there. I actually don't recall seeing any there.. Still is sad to see all those trees gone.

Filip said...

I can't believe the suggestion that a natural disaster is somehow supposed to be a harbinger of anything, especially as punishment of pride . These things happen, and frankly, one bad winter season does not indicate anything. But, hey, whatever works in propagating the coming crash in real estate - just makes you perma bears look intellectually challenged.

van said...

Just wait 'til the tent caterpillars come and the moon turns red filip.

Sad that you see tongue-in-cheek comments as an indicator of intellectual challenge. That just seems to me to reveal your own insufficiencies vis-a-vis a sense of irony and humour. Look at the tags - despair, irony, land shortage...

rentah said...

Actually, 'van', I think you're being disingenuous as the prior posts about hubris and 'strange days' were by no means clearly tongue-in-cheek.
Thus 'filip' makes a fair point in emphasizing that natural disasters don't mean anything. They are what they are.
As a bear myself, I wouldn't want the bear case to be sullied with suggestions of supernatural support. The bear case simply doesn't need that assistance, it's strong enough without it!

wannaget2calgary said...

just makes you perma bears look intellectually challenged.

Permabears? Like permafrost? Hey, I wasn't suggesting Vancouver was going to get that cold. Merely that maybe global weather patterns are changing? Call it global warming or whatever, something's happening. Natural disasters don't mean anything? Open the eyes of your imagination!! One bad winter does not an ice age make?! I dunno, maybe ....

wannaget2calgary said...

As a bear myself, I wouldn't want the bear case to be sullied with suggestions of supernatural support.

"Sullied"? Feeling a bit anti-religious today?

rentah said...

"Sullied"? Feeling a bit anti-religious today?

----

Yes.
But then that's no different from any other day.

solipsist said...

Actually, 'van', I think you're being disingenuous

Fair enough rentah. I can see how that might seem disingenuous, but in deconstruction, I wrote (as 'van' accidentally);

Vancouver is taking it's lumps these days. I wonder if it is a harbinger of worse things to come?

Being that we have not seen this number of days of extreme weather (since I've lived here), and the understanding that we have of the effects of global warming, it's a fair musing.

It reminds me of the saying - pride comes before the fall. It's almost as if the gods are punishing the city for it's hubris.

Again, another musing. I have had little sleep lately, and my mind is like a tapioca pudding, and I was just a wee bit grouchy when I wrote this AM.

I would say that a city is incapable of hubris, so it's just semantics.

I have never before been labeled as a "perma bear", and no one has ever voiced that my intellect may be challenged, so I really did not know how to respond. Essentially, I read it as a nasty comment by someone with nothing more to say than to proffer insults. What was the point?

Rado said...

Stanley Park Storm Damage Photo Gallery

Anonymous said...

just makes you perma bears look intellectually challenged

I bought in the early 80's, smart guy, and if and when real prices return to that level I will be bullish again.

It's people who buy into the Lereahspeak "It's always a good time to buy" who are intellectually challenged.

solipsist said...

Thanks for the link rado!

And thanks for posting anon.

wannaget2calgary said...

Yes. But then that's no different from any other day.

Fair enough. Good luck.

bc_cele said...

Yikes! I just get back from one of the worst war zones on this planet and find that mother nature has been hard at work here.

Strange days.

rentah said...

'Fair enough. Good luck.'

----

Thanks!
Luck, we can all use.

informasian said...

Apparently, 9 of every 10 trees in the park were blown down, or otherwise destroyed.

Taking a look at the photo gallery on CBC's web page, I can't see how that is true. Certainly, from that tiny sample size it doesn't seem as though 90% of the trees in that forest were destroyed. I suppose it is possible that there are huge swaths of forest that were totally wiped out.

patiently waiting said...

Half the park is open for business. More like 1 in 10, if that.

solipsist said...

Actually, the last I heard was that 9/10 of the trees were blown down in the hardest hit parts.

It always looks worse than it is in news reports, and I've been up to my arse in alligators, so have not had a chance to see for myself.

solipsist said...

Welcome home bc-cele.

You missed all the excitement! Though I'm sure that there is a whole different kind of excitement in Afghanistan (and a lot less easy to contend with)...