TransLink looks to muffle SkyTrain after False Creek residents complain about noise

The Vancouver Sun, Saturday, September 24, 2016 Kelly Sinoski

indexTransLink plans to take measures to muffle the noise from SkyTrain as it passes through Vancouver’s northeast False Creek, after residents made a formal complaint Friday over the “constantly clacking” of the trains as they switch the tracks on the stretch between Main Street-Science World and Stadium-Chinatown stations.

Paul Altilia, who has lived in False Creek since 2004, said the noise from the trains is affecting the quality of life for about 4,000 people in the area, who can no longer have a conversation on their balconies or even watch TV with the windows open.

Tests on a cellphone app, he said, show the noise levels have reached as high as 90 decibels, which he said is above the acceptable standard of 55 decibels for the city.

“There has been a consistent progression; the noise levels have significantly increased over the years,” Altilia said. “The continued gentrification is making (the area) desirable but it’s also undermining our quality of life.”


Residents of Vancouver’s Northeast False Creek are issuing a formal complaint to TransLink over SkyTrain noise, saying it is undermining their quality of life. Jason Payne / PNG

TransLink met with the residents Friday to outline what it is doing to address the situation. SkyTrain boss Vivienne King, who is president of TransLink subsidiary B.C. Rapid Transit Corp., said she will personally visit two of the residents to see what they are experiencing. At the same time, she said, TransLink has a program to reduce SkyTrain noise over the next two years.

Efforts could include replacing older switches, grinding the head of the offending noisy switch and doing “rail profiling,” which shapes the train wheels to match the rails to lessen the noise, she said. TransLink already grinds the switches regularly.

But she acknowledges some of these measures will take time and money and “can’t be done overnight.” TransLink, for instance, plans to buy a grinder — it now rents one — so it has more flexibility over when to use it. And it has more than 100 switches that need to be replaced along the SkyTrain line. These each take at least two days to complete.

“Steel on steel will make noise,” King said. “This has been a 30-year problem and with more density we will get more people buying houses next to rail lines. Noise is an issue in every singe railway … there are many options to address it but they come with very large price tags.”

King noted the stretch between Main and Stadium stations has a 70-metre curve, one of the tightest on the system, which means there is likely to be noise as the trains round the bend — even though the speeds have been reduced to 50 km/h. Some cities have used rubber bats on the side of the rails to muffle the noise, she noted but they proved to be expensive and ineffective as they fell off.

One option, she said, is to have developers pay some of the costs of reducing SkyTrain noise because they are building right up against a rail alignment.

“We’re a very unique railway,” she said. “Being up in the sky puts another challenge on us.”

TransLink board member Larry Beasley agreed it’s important to resolve the issue, given that 10,000 more people are expected to move to the area once the viaducts are removed and replaced by residential towers. Municipalities across Metro Vancouver are building more dense developments in town centres as part of a regional growth strategy to accommodate a million more people by 2040.

Other stories…
False Creek residents file complaint against TransLink over SkyTrain noise
Locals upset with SkyTrain noise in False Creek neighbourhood
Opinion: Only idiots would move next to SkyTrain then complain about noise



Help us kick-start the next phase of planning for Northeast False Creek! Enjoy live music, food trucks, a pop-up bar, and family friendly activities while learning about the upcoming process and sharing your ideas for the future of NEFC.

Date: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Time: 5:30-9:00pm
Location: Plaza of Nations (777 Pacific Boulevard)

The event is open to everyone, please feel free to share!

As part of our process to create a plan for this area, we are asking you to share your ideas for its future.

Kind Regards,
The Northeast False Creek Planning Team

ABOUT THE NORTHEAST FALSE CREEK AREA PLAN: Already a hub of events, culture, and sports, Northeast False Creek is the last major undeveloped waterfront in downtown Vancouver. In October 2015, Council approved a conceptual plan that included the replacement of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts and directed staff to proceed with the creation of an area plan.

LEARN MORE: Visit the website to view a map of the area, stay up to date with progress and view documents and details related to the Northeast False Creek planning process.

To join our email list, visit our  Northeast False Creek Website.

City of Vancouver,
453 W 12th Avenue,
Vancouver, B.C., V5Y 1V4

Science World Boss Retiring After 18 Years

Roundhouse Radio 98.3 by Marcella Bernardo

The outgoing CEO of Vancouver’s Science World is confident he’s leaving the popular tourist attraction and learning centre in good

Bryan Tisdall, who’s retiring after 18 years in charge, says his successor—Scott Sampson—was born and raised in Vancouver, but recently worked at a natural history museum in Denver.

“Scott is a paleontologist by background and has significant experience in the science museum field, so he’s returning home with a lot of enthusiasm to continue and set new directions and goals for Science World.”

Tisdall says he’ll miss interacting with his co-workers the most.

“One of the things that I will miss and I’m going to have to replace.”

“At any point are you planning to sleep in at all?”

“Well, sleep in beyond a quarter to five, which has been my normal pattern, but not beyond six I don’t think. You still want to get up and go and not let too much time go by without enjoying it.”

Tisdall was the guest of honour at a retirement celebration hosted by Science World tonight (Wednesday).

He’s worked there since November 1997.

Vancouver to ban floating billboards

News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk
Simon Little

It’s official, the city of Vancouver is moving to ban floating billboards.

The move comes after a 12-meter wide boat and barge mounted billboard appeared in False Creek in March, drawing numerous complaints from residents.

Last night, Council moved to amend the city’s sign bylaw, banning all floating signs larger than one square meter.

The move followed a staff report on the issue, which says the sign by-law does currently regulate signs “on waters within the boundaries of the City, including False Creek and English Bay,” and adds some of those waters are also under Port Metro Vancouver’s jurisdiction, which also bans floating advertisements.

Patsy McMillan with the False Creek Residents Association says it was the right move.

“We’re very pleased about it. We’re pleased that the city has taken the initiative and the city manager has taken this initiative to get serious about. It because it’s a visual pollution intrusion into all of our lives.

MacMillan says on top of the light pollution blasting into residents’ homes, the billboard was polluting the air as well.

“It’s also polluting the air itself, because you’ve got a rather large vessel that’s using fuel that’s going around from False Creek to English bay and back from 7 am until 11 pm seven days a week, that’s a lot of fuel.”

Council will formally enact the bylaw next Tuesday, May 31st.

 Floating controversy

The issue cropped up after a company called Burke Billboards began operating in March, with plans to float the billboard between False Creek and English Bay daily from morning until 11 pm.


The proposed route for the floating billboard

The company’s website, which now reads “down for maintenance,” claimed the billboards are visible from up to two kilometers away, and would reach an average of 10.5 million people a year, targeting festivals like the fireworks and tourist hotspots like Granville Island.

Transport Canada detained the vessel in March for not having a commercial certification, however, the billboard reappeared in April on a barge and towed by a smaller boat.

Vancouver city council passes billboard bylaw amendment

Burke Billboards started cruising a 12-metre electronic billboard in False Creek in March

CBC News Posted: May 03, 2016 8:18 AM PT Last Updated: May 03, 2016 9:09 AM PT


Burke Billboards’ electronic billboard in False Creek in Vancouver in early March. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

The sign bylaw in question regulates signs, including those on waterways within city boundaries.

The now-amended bylaw bans floating signs larger than one square metre on those same bodies of water.

Earlier this year, Burke Billboards began cruising around False Creek with a 12-metre electronic billboard in early March, leading to several complaints that the display was “crass.”

The vessel was temporarily detained by Transport Canada because it wasn’t properly registered as commercial, but then returned to operation.

Oceans fall under federal jurisdiction.

The incident led to a report by city staff recommending the municipality change its bylaw.

The amended bylaw specifically prohibits floating signs in all zones, except small ones under one square metre, “to allow limited promotional advertising on commercial vessels.”

The changes define a floating sign as “a sign that contains third-party advertising and is mounted or affixed to a barge, vessel or other structure that floats or is capable of floating on water.”

Other stories…

Better regulation for floating signs: recommends

… floating advertising signs in False Creek and English Bay,” reads the report. … says Patsy McMillan, Chair of the False Creek Residents Association.

Vancouver to weigh floating billboard by-law following complaintsCKNW News Talk 980

The City of Vancouver is looking to crackdown on floating signs in False Creek and English Bay. Last month a 12-meter wide illuminated billboard …

Vancouver proposes public hearing on floating signsVancouver Sun

… on new regulations for floating signs like a 12-metre wide digital billboard that sailed through False Creek and raised the ire of residents last month.

Vancouver to weigh floating billboard by-law following complaintsCJOB

Chair False Creek Residents Association, Patsy Mcmillan, thinks there … on social media, along with a wave of complaints from False Creek residents.

Creekside Park Delivery

At a February 22, 2016 meeting of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (VBPR), there was a Motion on Notice concerning Creekside Park—the fourth and final major park planned as part of the False Creek North Official Development Plan back in 1990.

Included in the motion:

The False Creek Residents Association has called for the City of Vancouver and Concord Pacific to fulfill the decades-old contractual obligation to complete Creekside Park and the Seawall, and residents have conducted a green light campaign to highlight their frustration over the lack of progress to date

At that meeting, it was CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

A. THAT the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation write to the Mayor and
Council to urge that some or all of the Creekside Park Extension be delivered
on an expedited basis in order to alleviate the critical shortage of available
green space for residents in the Northeast False Creek area; and

B. THAT the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation direct staff to prepare a
communication plan outlining the timeline and process for the Creekside Park
Extension development and the details of the public consultation process that
will take place in advance of the delivery of the new park.

At that same meeting, the VPBR approved the formation of a Northeast False Creek Park Design Advisory Group. Members of the FCRA advocated for representation on the group. In this way, we can ensure that the information represented in the public realm is accurate and consistent, particularly regarding the size and design of the park.


One of three designs currently in circulation sourced from “Removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts POLICY REPORT” October 6, 2015, RTS No: 11057

We will keep our neighbours informed as developments unfold.

Transport Canada detains False Creek floating billboard


Simon Little, News Talk 980 CKNW

Transport Canada has detained a 12-meter wide illuminated floating billboard that has been drawing the ire of local residents.

“The vessel has been detained pending its registration and subsequent certification as a commercial vessel,” Transport Canada says in a statement.

The agency says in order to obtain commercial certification, the boat must comply with both the Canada Shipping Act and marine safety regulations.

But it looks like the detention has nothing to do with the billboard itself – the agency says it’s not within its jurisdiction to decide whether the boat can operate with the signage on it.

“Cheap and Crass?”

The 12-meter wide illuminated marine billboard was launched this week, to poor reviews from False Creek residents.

Patsy McMillan, chair of the False Creek Resident’s Association says she’s already getting a lot of email about it.

“It’s pretty cheap and crass visual pollution of what’s supposed to be a quiet waterway.”

She says the lights are bright enough that they will shine into the homes of many people who live in the lower floors of condos and apartments in the area.

And she says she’s worried the boat might be just the first of many.

“If one can do it, why can’t 20 more? Where does it stop, up Burrard Inlet, Indian Arm?”

Read more…


The Green Light District

Emily Carr student video shines light on False Creek residents’ call to action

Sawyer Armstrong and Karen Chan have put together a phenomenal video on the False Creek Residents Association’s Greening the Creek campaign.

Click on the image to view the video

Through footage, maps and interviews, they capture the essence of the campaign—residents shining green lights in their windows calling for the City of Vancouver and Concord Pacific to fulfill a decades-old contractual obligation to complete Creekside Park and the Seawall.

Special thanks to Sawyer and Karen for their initiative and creativity. Well done!

Annual General Meeting update

The FCRA hosted another successful AGM at Science World on December 3, 2015.

Association Co-Chairs Patsy McMillan and Fern Jeffries circulated their 2015 Report highlighting the advocacy work undertaken by the association on a range of issues. This included an update on the Greening the Creek Light Campaign, which has neighbours shining green lights in their windows calling for the City of Vancouver and Concord Pacific to fulfill a decades-old contractual obligation to complete Creekside Park and the Seawall.

After a lightning round of brainstorming 2016 priorities for the False Creek Residents Association, we turned the floor to our guest presenters.

Screen Shot 2015-12-04 at 10.34.43 AM

click image for PDF of presentation (4.6 MB)

Speakers from Providence Health Care talked about how the new St. Paul’s Hospital—to be built on a vacant lot near Main Street and Terminal Avenue—is expected to shape the future of health care provision.

Neil MacConnell, the project lead, explained how the new facility will provide residential care for the elderly and infirm, mental health and addiction services and a 24-7 integrated care centre to divert patients away from emergency departments.

St. Paul’s new one-million-square-foot campus will cost as much as $1.2 billion. So far, the government has agreed to contribute $500 million to the effort. Providence is expected to complete its business case over the next year, tender by the second half of 2016 and begin construction in 2017. The False Creek site is expected to open in 2023.

The evening closed with a fond farewell to Fern Jeffries, FernCo-Chair since the FCRA’s inception, who was instrumental in shaping the organization into what it is today.

And we thanked Deb Barker for her years of invaluable service and lively Facebook posts.

Joe Thompson also left the board, and we welcomed new members
Renée de St. Croix (and Mick Slivecko post meeting).

As we embark on a series of major projects within the city that will affect our False Creek neighbourhood, it’s more important than ever to showcase the central role played by residents. A successful project is a collaborative affair with widespread support and involvement from the local community. We look forward to working with you in 2016!