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South Vancouver community spaces tackle overcrowding

As South Vancouver becomes a denser community, community spaces in the area are facing the problem of overcrowding

South Vancouver Family Place is one of the community spaces experiencing overcrowding. Photo by Ana Rose Walkey
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Reported by Ana Rose Walkey

Growing development but lack of affordable housing and childcare is causing overcrowding at the South Vancouver Family Place and other community spaces in the area, according to community service workers.

As South Van grows, family places, community centres and neighbourhood houses are experiencing more overcrowding than usual.

Limited space time

The noticed posted by South Vancouver Family Place in September, suggesting how community space users can limit their visits.

Kim Berger, executive director at South Vancouver Family Place, posted a notice on their website this September explaining how people could help decrease overcrowding at the centre.

Some of the suggestions outlined in the notice included limiting visits up to three hours daily and only twice a week, not bringing school-aged children and visiting other community centres and playgrounds.

“We never want to turn anybody away,” Berger said. “I think there’s definitely a greater need for the service … Our community is changing drastically in terms of demographic.”

A denser population, she said, means more residents in tighter living spaces who want to meet and spend time with people outside their homes.

“Very large-scale city developments do provide public amenities such as daycare and community centres,” said David Rawsthorne, a civil engineer for the City of Vancouver. “But the small to medium ones don’t.”

Melissa Needleman, secretary at South Vancouver Neighbourhood House, said she has also noticed a problem. She believes it is due to the fact these community spaces are non-profit and therefore cheaper than using the city’s resources.

Berger said the notice was not meant to deter visitors but to help manage a growing problem. She and her colleagues are working to make no cost, low barrier programs more accessible for families in the future.

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