Lack of Transportation and Social Services Affecting South Vancouver Residents

South Vancouver should be recognized as distinct neighbourhoods and not one 'monolith' according to one city councillor

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By Kalvin Moses

Lack of Infrastructure and social services are an issue in South Van, according to advocates and one city councillor.

“Neighbourhoods of South Vancouver have been historically under invested in relative to the rest of the city of Vancouver,” Coun. Christine Boyle said.

She said the city must recognize and begin talking about the neighbourhoods of South Vancouver not as a monolith, but as many different neighbourhoods, “and looking at how social infrastructure is spread out to serve each of those neighbourhoods,” she said.

A lack of transportation serving the few critical community spaces in South Vancouver is also causing difficulties in accessing local social services, especially for those with mobility issues, according to a recent report.

The 2021 equity report done by SFU that looked at the South Vancouver neighbourhoods of Marpole, Sunset, Victoria-Fraserview and Killarney found that these four neighbourhoods had lower walkability and transit scores compared to the rest of Vancouver and a higher percentage of recent immigrants compared to the rest of the city.

Strengthening Communities

Jenna Otto-Wray, Communication & Outreach Coordinator for the Association of Neighbourhood Houses B.C., said neighbourhood houses were key in strengthening communities.

“A lot of people who come to the neighbourhood houses are newcomers, whether they’re newcomers to Canada or newcomers to their neighbourhood,” Otto-Wray said. “So they’re looking for connection and belonging.”

The recently opened Southside Hub is the newest South Vancouver Neighbourhood House (SVNH) location and will offer a wide range of programs including basic computer training, counselling, children’s summer camp and many others.

Increased accessibility to the new Southside Hub

Jenny Chan, a volunteer with SVNH, said the addition of the Southside Hub is a good thing because the main SVNH building is usually full, causing some programs not to have a permanent location and must move around.

The new hub is easier to access by public transit and will improve accessibility for people with mobility restrictions, such as seniors and families with children.

Liza Bautista, manager of Neighbourhood & Equity Representation for SVNH, said the new hub will address some of the inequities, allowing more people in different parts of South Vancouver to benefit from programs.

“South Vancouver has been kind of ignored in terms of like infrastructures and social services, particularly the south side of South Vancouver,” Bautista said. “There’s very little [transit] for the people on the southernmost part of South Vancouver to come up here.”

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