River District – Vancouver’s Last Waterfront or Buyer Beware?

February 21, 2017

River District - Buyer Beware

 

Looking to buy in the brand new River District on Marine Drive in Vancouver? I think you might want to read this first.

You may have seen the Marketing ads rolling around on Facebook and in local online newspapers like in the Daily Hive and others stating:  River District, Vancouver’s Last Waterfront! They make it sound appealing, they make it sound like a waterfront luxury with trees and nature and parks and it is so wonderful, you must buy here. They go on about sustainability, environmental practices, daycares and community centres. It all sounds so wonderful!  YAY!

The problem is, if you talk to long time residents of this area, this location is anything but ideal, serene and relaxing right now. Over the last 3-4 years, residents of the River District have been in ongoing negotiations and dialogue with both the City of Vancouver and the City of Richmond to alleviate the pain and suffering that they encounter in all hours of the night from the noise produced by Ray Mont Logistics – A company that is listed as ‘light industry’ that operates across the River from the River District in Richmond. This company expanded into working day and night and on weekends and Holidays ( 24/7)  about 4-5 years ago and continues to expand the size of their business operations with what appears to be no regard for the environmental noise pollution it is causing. I say no regard, because next to nothing has been done to work with residents to give them some peace and quiet at night even among countless complaints and efforts on behalf of the residents here.

The City of Richmond claims that they are bylaw compliant. When I spoke to Gerry Von of the Environment protection branch, he told me that Ray Mont Logistics had been tested and found compliant. Yet, when I asked him when they had been tested, and what the results were, he had no answers for me. In our conversation he essentially stated that the City of Richmond will offer no support for this issue. And, the City of Vancouver states that it is not their jurisdiction and their hands are tied and argued that residents should KNOW when buying in this area that they are on a working River and that we should call the City of Richmond. I’m perplexed as to why noise pollution during the night would be seen as ‘expected’ in any neighborhood. Their response to requests for assistance from residents can be found in documents added to the  River District Noise Pollution FB group –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/472278266276539/

It’s an ongoing battle, and as with any battle, it’s left its scars on the less fortunate of the lot – in this case it is the residents having to cope with the noise day and night with no breaks.

So far, there has been no solution offered, and no move toward finding a solution – as of the time of publication of this article, Raymont has opted to ‘sometimes’ turn off back up beepers at night, but it’s not consistent and residents need to call in to complain at least once every few months and they have still done nothing about the loud crashing and banging that can be horrendous at times – I once thought a plane had exploded it was so loud.

Raymont Logistics  has made it clear that they are not very interested in being a good corporate citizen and continue to operate as they see fit without offering viable solutions. Solutions which would be fairly easy to implement such as; newer back up beeper technology that only emits sound in the immediate area, rather than carrying across the River. Installing a retainer wall as a sound buffer, or countless other ideas that would bring some relief to residents. Back in 2014 Global News did a piece on this issue titled “Richmond Company’s noisy business keeps South Vancouver Community Awake” – in this article they quoted Ted Townsed, the Mayor of Richmond as saying “the owner has been very cooperative and has met with the residents to come up with a resolution.” – this was three years ago, and nothing has happened, and when residents met with him he was dismissive and not helpful.

And in the Richmond news in an article titled “Richmond Noise Robs Vancouverites of sleep” they quoted the CEO of Raymont as saying “Maybe we can buy the residents Air Conditioners” – An odd response to the issue, but also something that was never even intended or followed through on regardless. Residents need a solution that doesn’t laugh in their faces and actually works for everyone involved.

The point of this article on my blog, is to warn prospective buyers to this district. There are thousands of new residential units being built around here promising serene river living, when in reality, it is anything but. The new ‘River District’ as it is called could rake in millions of dollars in housing sales and get unsuspecting families to sign on the dotted line – and then, MAYBE as an aside after the contract is signed mention; ” oh by the way, this is a working River and the Company right across from you will operate 24/7 and on Holidays relentlessly. You will hear loud crashing, banging and back up beeping non stop – it will make you a bit insane, but oh well!”

This kind of thing doesn’t sit well with me. As a long time resident, I’ve had to cope, and at times it is very depressing. The noise never quits, and even with windows closed and earplugs in, it permeates. Please NOTE: When I first moved here the noise was only during the day as most of the industrial businesses closed down around 5pm. It WAS peaceful then on Holidays and weekends and after 5pm. Now, this is not the case. The business has opted for 24 hour operations and has not opted to be quiet about it to allow residents some peace. So, the argument about knowing this was an industrial area when we moved here is moot – it was, but it was quiet at night. And for someone now looking to buy here, they aren’t being told it’s industrial and noise happens 24/7 – it’s not in any of the marketing brochures I’ve read. It’s misleading, and it’s how they pass the buck when we do complain – We should have known better.

I need this information to get out there, so that anyone who is thinking of buying down here takes a second look. Come down here at night as well and see for yourself. I have video, which I will post below, but you need to see for yourself how loud it can get. There are breaks sometimes, so don’t give it an hour and leave, come down a few days at night and go for a walk, you’ll hear it soon enough. Keep in mind; this is all over and above any airport traffic you will hear.

If you are a person that likes peace and quiet and think you will get this here – you are wrong, buyer beware.

If you are a person that doesn’t mind construction sound noise 24/7 and on Holidays – buy a home in the River District.

This problem isn’t going away, and with more residents moving in, it’s only going to get worse. With both the City of Vancouver and the City of Richmond passing the buck off to each other the only recourse at this point is to hire an environmental lawyer – this costs upward of $10,000 or more. It’s putting the residents of River District in a pretty shitty position to say the least.

On that note: If anyone knows an environmental lawyer who would like to take on the challenge pro bono – send them our way! This would be a high profile case for sure!

And to the developers of the new buildings and shopping- Wesgroup Properties – you might have more clout than us little, teeny, tiny residents. I would suggest that you try flexing your muscles to fix this issue before you are left with a public relations nightmare because you didn’t tell prospective buyers of the serious noise pollution issue down here.

Wesgroup Properties won an award in 2013 for Marketing from the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association, which means they’ve painted it up and packaged it up real nice and pretty, but what you will really get is something entirely different all together. I suggest you do your research, come down to the location at night and really know what you are buying into – It may not be what you’ve been led to expect.

BUYER BEWARE!

Video late night on a weekend shot from my balcony – where I live is not even directly across from Ray Mont Logistics as the new developments are.

Facbeook Group Page: River District Noise Pollution

Articles quoted:

“Richmond Noise Robs Vancouverites of sleep”

“Richmond Company’s noisy business keeps South Vancouver Community Awake”

Facts in this article are purely based on first person experience and are the opinion of the author. Due diligence has been made to talk to all parties concerned and responses have been noted as they are written. This is written without prejudice and is an opinion piece. 

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