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My neighbouring condo’s latest effort at self defense

January 31, 2016


Here’s another follow up involving bollards, this time updating the story of the hapless brick-facade condo across the alley from the parkade where I sleep.

As I’ve mentioned previously, in 2012-2013, the condo was built out to the absolute edge of its lot and at the same time the parkade entrance was rebuilt to jut several more feet into the alley. As a result, between the two properties, the alley narrows like the neck of a wine bottle, to no more than 10 feet in width.


Most of the damage to the brick occurs at the southwest corner.

This results in a tight squeeze for motor homes, moving vans, delivery vehicles and garbage trucks. And whatever trouble these big vehicles have is always at the physical expense of the alley-side brick wall of the condo.

Already re-bricked in two places, the wall still has a mess of gashes and grooves from successive truck scrapes and impacts.

Over the last three years, both the building owners and the City of Vancouver have taken successive small steps to protect the condo. None of these steps, however, have involved reducing the incursion of the parkade in order to actually widen the alley any.

Instead the condo owners first put up two retro-reflective signs warning westbound traffic in the alley of the extreme narrowing. Then the owners placed orange, water-filled construction barriers against the condo as buffers (these barriers were repeatedly moved by drivers and ultimately removed for good).

At some point the city added “No Trucks” signs flanking the eastbound entrance of the bottleneck (these are wisely spaced wider than the alley itself so that garbage trucks and the like don’t flatten them on the way through).

Now, I see that the condo owners have permanently fixed three steel bollards in place along the alley-side brick wall, thus further narrowing the bottleneck by another half-foot or so.

And by “permanently fixed”, I mean the bollards have been indifferently bolted directly into the asphalt. So I expect that the slightest tap from a big truck will uproot them. Click the images to enlarge them.

  1. Have you ever posted anything regarding your spot at the parkade? I wonder how you make that work. Keep the posts coming! Take care!

    • “My” parkade has featured in many posts, textually and photographically. I’m disinclined to say explicitly where it’s located but I’ve come close.

      I’m not going to presume that the management actually loves having me sleep there but they seem to like it well enough. They’re courteous to downright friendly and they give me a Christmas present each year.

      For all I know, their forbearance may be a case of the devil they know. I’m not the first or second long-term “tenant”. My deceased friend Rockin’ Rob slept there — in fact we shared it for the better part of a year. The building had problems with him, but only because of his drinking and slight messiness.

      I’m tidy. I don’t smoke. I try hard not to oversleep and the building may see my presence as added security against vandalism and car theft. Management may feel that If I didn’t hold the spot, then someone else would come along.

  2. I am impressed by the way the management acts! You are lucky to have a regular spot you can go to. Not only is “Urban Camping” illegal in my town, they systematically destroy homeless dwellings. A few months ago, I watched a store owner throw away a homeless man´s belongings, who had left for a couple minutes to retrieve his bike. His sleeping bag, mat, and water bottles were gone by the time he got back.

    • That also happens here in Vancouver. Some people think that they should be able to leave their stuff on private property without permission. The police used to advise building management to throw such stuff away. I don’t camp. I sleep. I pack up. I go. I don’t leave things behind.

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