City of Vancouver says it’s exploring alternatives — as well as additional bolts and concrete to secure brass icons
It’s a frustrating site for residents and business owners in downtown Vancouver, and a blight on the streetscape.
Brass medallions set into the pavement around street trees are being pried away almost as soon as they are placed.
The City of Vancouver requires developers of residential and commercial properties in the Downtown South area — which includes parts of Yaletown, Granville Street and the Hornby Slopes area — to install granite tiles and four brass icons, or medallions, around each street tree.
The 6” x 6” brass medallions cost $52.80 each, and are epoxied and set into the concrete with pins.
Judging by how many of the medallions are missing during a quick walk around downtown Vancouver, it’s clear that the adhesive and pins are not effective in preventing theft.
On one block on Seymour Street in downtown Vancouver, between Drake and Pacific, 99 of the 100 brass icons have been stolen.
At a cost of $52.80 each, that’s $5,227.20 — not including the labour cost of placing the medallions into the pavement.
In front of the recently completed Tate development on Howe and Drake streets, 20 of the 36 bronze medallions have already been lifted — and its only been two weeks since the sidewalk was completed.
Despite the regular thefts and the ease of removing the icons, the city continues to mandate that developers install the decorative medallions in front of their newly completed buildings — much to the delight of thieves, who likely sell the medallions to scrap metal dealers.
Sabrina Scalena, spokesperson for the City of Vancouver engineering department, says developers will replace the medallions within two years — or they will be filled in with asphalt.
“At the end of the two year warranty period, the developer will reinstate the stolen medallions. If the medallions are not in front of a new development, the City fills the void with an asphalt patch to eliminate the tripping hazard.”
Scalena says at the two year mark, a city building site inspector walks the site, with the site project manager, to ensure any deficiencies — including the missing medallions — are fixed.
She adds the project manager at Tate on Howe is looking at installing an additional bolt and concrete to anchor the medallions which will make them harder to pop off, and that the city is beginning to explore alternatives to the brass medallions.
Once the city has confirmed a preferred alternative, it will reach out to stakeholders to discuss the proposed changes to the streetscape design guidelines for Downtown South, says Scalena.