Trans Am Totem is the latest installation of the Vancouver Biennale, part of the 2014–2016 Vancouver Biennale Open Air Museum supporting public art.
At night the Trans-Am car on top of the totem is lit with a green light.
This is in solidarity with residents in the northeast False Creek neighbourhood … who have green lights in their windows to remind the City of Vancouver and developer Concord Pacific of their now 25-year-old agreement with the residents to complete Creekside Park and the Sea-wall at the northeast corner of False Creek.
Each weekday, CKNW-AM (Vancouver) broadcasts an editorial commentary by Bruce Allen called Reality Check, in which Allen provides his point of view on a current event or recent news story.
On Thursday, March 12, 2015, during his editorial comment on Tacky Homes, Movie Theatres & Green Lights, Allen said he was sorry to hear about our judicial review loss and encouraged us: “Keep those green lights going people—if only to remind us that in Vancouver today developers rule.”
False Creek residents are tired of waiting, so they’ve taken it upon themselves to green light a planned community park to stunning effect.
The emerald glow emanating from hundreds of condos along northeast False Creek over the last five weeks have generated plenty of curiosity and chatter from passersby wondering whether the spectacle is a new kind of urban art installation or something completely different.
The reality is that False Creek residents are fed up waiting for Concord Pacific to build a designated park – one that has been promised to residents since 1990 – along the seawall and they’ve found a rather creative way to protest the lack of community green space.
Concord Pacific agreed with the city and province to designate the north lot as park space in exchange for building 7,500 units of housing in False Creek.
And while that housing target was built – and long since exceeded – the lot remains vacant and tied into the developer’s long-term vision for the area.
Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs agreed development of the park is long overdue, but said the ball is firmly in Concord Pacific’s court.
“It’s a 25-year plan and we’ve worked hard with them on creating a better layout for that area,” said Meggs. “We’ve been in discussions but it’s up to them to clear up legal and technical issues and apply for rezoning.”
However, Meggs says significant progress has been made in the past 18 months (including a city proposal to tear down the Georgia viaduct and expand potential park space) and believes a formal proposal from the developer is “imminent”.
But until then, more and more residents – who say the park should be built independent of the overall development plan – are buying green light bulbs and joining the public demonstration.
“We hit the ground running and we won’t stop. In five weeks we’re up to 500 bulbs sold. Soon it will be 1,000 and then 1,500,” said MacKenzie. “People know we’re up against a brick wall and want to get our message out.”
MacKenzie says the campaign has been so successful, other community associations are interested in replicating it as neighbourhoods face rapid development.