Jericho Marginal Wharf Nocheinmal

159

The Vancouver Courier has an article on a group of West Siders who are petitioning the to-be-elected parks board to overturn the current decision to remove all but a small part of Jericho’s historic wharf:

Since the board’s decision, the group led by Kitsilano resident Joan Bunn has gathered more than 800 signatures on a petition, which was presented to the board in July.

Is it me or does 800 sound like very few signatures? It’s not a number that has me scratch my head and think “wow, the parks board really got this wrong”. Especially when contrasted with the recent news about the 15,000 signatures that were collected to save the UBC farm.

As I said back in June, I don’t mind the current decision for the wharf; it will extend the fantastic recreational space at Jericho (paths and beach), while preserving a (small) piece of its great history.

Last modified: October 27, 2008

3 Responses to " Jericho Marginal Wharf Nocheinmal "

  1. Bil Barilko says:

    Few things are as expensive as preserving the past, given the real problems in this world I suggest people like Joan Bunn put their impressive energies and organisational expertise toward helping people who are really in need.

  2. I used to be young and pretty, that’s changed and the fix is too expensive, the result questionable.
    I suggest that lots of pictures be taken for the album. Then throw a “remember when” beach party.

  3. Joan Bunn says:

    The cost of preservation of the wharf is a red herring. The Parks Board’s own figures show that the immediate cost of demolition would be about twice the cost of repairing the wharf, and even counting in periodic maintenance, the wharf could be preserved for a generation (probably 30 years), for no more than the cost of demolition (somewhat over $2 million). Also, beachfront is not free of cost — there is continuing upkeep needed to maintain the beachfront in this area — including bringing in sand, reinforcing breakfronts, hauling logs, and maintaining vegetation. The wharf is in its present state due to being more sadly neglected than any Vancouver beach.
    As for the 800 signatures (now nearer to 900), that’s already about triple the number of respondents on whom the Parks Board based its decison to demolish the wharf. The UBC farm defenders have been collecting signatures for years, the Committee to save the wharf only since late June, 2008, and only with limited time and resources — but the astonsihing thing is the proportion of people contacted who feel strongly about the wharf and are passionate about saving it.
    The wharf stretches a few hundred metres in a part of the city blessed with many kilometres of public beaches — it can hardly be viewed as usurping needed beach area (the adjacent beach areas are very rarely if ever crowded).
    If you do not have an attachment to the wharf, do not value heritage conservation, and do not think that free public space, wheelchair accessible, with unsurpassable views and perspective, is important & worth saving — fine, that’s your opinion, but why destroy it for those who do value these things? It will cost taxpayers less to save it than to take it down. Plus, it’s environmentally better to avoid the huge disruption and creation of waste that destruction would generate.
    The wharf has evolved its own ecosystem over the past 70 years, and is friendly to birds (note the broken shells littering the surface from their use of the hard surface as a perfect tool for breaking open the clams that wash out from under the wharf at low tide). . . fish who swim under its protecting cover . . . and seals who hang around looking for a meal of those same fish.
    The wharf is unique and irreplaceable. It needs a re-birth as an inviting public space with the heritage wrought iron railings sandblasted and repainted, benches brought in, and signage provided.
    P.S. the remnant the current Parks Board wants to save as of July 2008 is 7% of the existing structure and would most likely not extend out over the water except at high tide, if at all — “if feasible”, in the Parks Board phrase.
    Those interested in the history of the wharf can read about it in the book “Jericho Beach and the West Coast Flying Boat Stations,” by Christopher Weicht.