Anonymous donor offers to fund linking Kitsilano and Jericho beaches by seawall


It’s the biggest scoop this summer since the controversial Kitsilano Coast Guard Base closure, and it’s sure to keep residents talking, or arguing, for months to come. A private donor has come forward and offered tens of millions of $$$ to complete the Vancouver seawall, between Kitsilano Beach and Jericho Beach.

Mayor Gregor Roberston has already voiced his support of the project. The project will be put through a public consultation process to test its merits.

So what’s controversial? Why can’t we universally agree that getting the fair weather cyclists, joggers and walkers off the unsuitably narrow Cornwall Avenue is a fantastic idea? The project will require altering the shoreline in front of some of Vancouver’s most expensive real estate.

From The Vancouver Sun: “The stretch of waterfront off of Cornwall and Point Grey is also home to some of the city’s priciest houses, some with large concrete retaining walls dropping directly to beach front that is impassable at high tide.

That means some kind of pier structure would need to be built to sup-port a walkway adjacent to about 80 waterfront homes along the 2.5-kilometre stretch. The walkway would also pass through the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s Jericho location.”

What do you think? Should we embrace any opportunity to increase public access to Vancouver waterfronts? Weigh in below.

Last modified: July 5, 2012

14 Responses to " Anonymous donor offers to fund linking Kitsilano and Jericho beaches by seawall "

  1. C says:

    What a fantastic idea! And vancouverites can’t complain about their hard earned tax dollars because it will be privately funded.

  2. GB says:

    Ridiculous, and typical of City Hall.

    Would require consent of each waterfront owner, or expropriation of their littoral right of access to their properties from the water.

    Good luck with that.

    On to the next boondoggle, you jokers.


  3. julia says:

    I love Vancouver and I love the seawall just as it is. I would be selfishly heartbroken as I love quiet times at Trafalgar beach and strolling to Jericho and back during low tides, often I’m the only person and feel like I have it all to myself.

  4. marie says:

    I love this idea! What a great way to make Vancouver an even better place to live.

  5. Craig says:

    This is an amazing idea! @GB there is no expropriation needed as the seawall would be built below the high tide line, which is not private land!

  6. Vancityguy says:

    One question. Where does legal title of the property end for each homeowner? As mentioned above, if the city has to negotiate with each homeowner it’ll never happen.

    Personally, if legal title includes those areas where the seawall would be constructed, then any expropriation by the city is wrong as that is private property and I’m sure was a major factor in why it was acquired by the owner in the first place.

    If legal title does NOT include those areas where the seawall would be constructed, then it’s a great idea as the public good is served by greater access to a beautiful area regardless of vested NIMBYism that has until now been benefiting from private-like use of public property.

    It all boils down to who owns the land.

  7. GB says:

    Craig – read up on it. Oceanfront property boundary generally is at average high tide water mark.

    In addition, such littoral property owners enjoy, as incident to/part of their property ownership,the right to unimpeded acces to and from their properties by water.

    A linear structure such as the much-ballyhooed seawall extension would infringe on the upland property owners rights, and hence would require either (all of) their consents, or alternately expropriation of their littoral rights of access.

    This proposal is not going to happen. It is also a really, really bad idea for the despoiling of Vancouver’s most beautiful natural beach that would be the inevitable result.


  8. harry says:

    This area is the only wild beach left in Vancouver. It has been promoted as Foreshore Beach with information plaques along Point grey Road. If we lose this portion of beach to a Sea Wall it will be lost forever, it is a bit of quiet and rugged beach and is the only portion left to remind us of what Vancouver used to be like. Take a walk at low tide and experience this beautiful natural beach.

  9. Elvira says:

    KEEP KITS BEACH WILD – say NO to the Point Grey Foreshore Seawall extension. Join my Facebook Group –

    Worst local idea in years – since the last time this came up in the 90s. And remember it was abandoned at the time. Not feasible.

    The wild and natural Point Grey Foreshore stretches from Kitsilano to Jericho. The last of the quiet beaches in Vancouver. Most of the time this makes for an easy and wonderful walk – a walk that I’ve been doing for 40 years! (FYI – I’m a local renter.) Especially wonderful at low tide. At high tide the beach becomes impassable at certain points. This would mean a very high 10 ft min seawall that could still be prone to flooding. There is also a major erosion problem on the cliffs. Do we really want this quiet beach to go the way of every other seawalled beach full of joggers, skateboarders and cyclists? Better to promote it and encourage people to take a quiet walk.

    I challenge the Parks Board, the City Council and any one who supports their idiotic plan to first take a walk on this beach before they go any further.

    This is NOT a preserve of the rich mansioners who live on the cliffs – it’s a quiet natural beach for EVERYONE to use and enjoy. I highly doubt that the rich homeowners on the cliff ever use the beach — they jet off to some private island. In fact Mr Lululemon, who is currently building a mega structure on this stretch of Point Grey Rd supports the seawall — because it will relief congestion on Point Grey Rd – less traffic outside his south windows – supposedly! Can’t see how building the seawall will fix the traffic congestion? Brilliant idea though Mr Lululemon — fix YOUR traffic problem by destroying OUR beach!! What drug is he on? The Pt Grey beach homeowners may also support the seawall because it will take care of their erosion problem. Less chance of their homes falling into the ocean.

    Who is the anonymous donor couple anyway? What vested interest do they have? Are they property owners on the beach or near by who stand to benefit? We need to know who’s buying influence and pulling the strings? The political process has to be transparent in a democracy.

    By the way the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans, manages the foreshore along that stretch of beach, it has nothing to do with the homeowners and the City.

  10. Laurence says:

    Terrible idea. Another attempt to homogenize the natural world that we live in. Ironically we were proudly showing a friend in Bellingham just yesterday photos of this wild and natural beach in Kits. He was remarking on how wonderful it looks. It’s remarkable that we have such a treasure in our midst — a place where one can walk and see the city — but feel like one is not in the city. These “do-gooders” who are always up to their well-intention mischief to “improve” our environment just can’t let things be. For anyone who has an illusions about what is to come, just visit Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles, a nice homogenized beach that has lost all character and looks exactly the same for miles and miles and miles. As the great ecologist/writer Edward Abbey once remarked on asking why he had never visited L.A. — “why bother going there, when L.A. is coming to me.”

  11. Lesley says:

    Access to what, exactly? Right now the beach in question is the last piece of unspoiled natural beach left in Vancouver. It’s publicly owned and available for anyone who wants to go there, with several sets of stairs leading down to it. If a sea wall is built over it, there won’t be anything left. The whole beach will be covered by the sea wall, leaving nothing for the wild life that now uses it, and nothing for all the people who enjoy walking on it as it is now. There’s plenty of paved road along other parts of the shore; please leave this last little bit of Nature unspoiled.

  12. The proposed Kitsilano/Point Grey seawall extension is a bad choice. As a born and raised Vancouverite, and as a professional in the area of Culture and Sustainability, interested in Urban Ecology, I must speak against it.

    First, I wish to stress the importance of not allowing the community to be split on this – to remember this is NOT an argument between some perceived as “wealthy” and some as “underprivileged”, thereby creating factions and contention where none should exist. Please also not that the beach in question is NOT private access, but IS a PUBLIC ACCESS WILD BEACH. Don’t be fooled into believing otherwise. This beach is, and has always been, everyone’s beach. This is a beach for those who care about nature in the city, and the ability to have our children experience and learn from it. This is also the only easily accessed real beach left.

    This seawall proposal represents private money and interests – and we are not entirely sure whose, and to what longterm end. Vancouver has a poor track record of preserving valuable wild heritage of this place, especially in the face of pressure from private interest. It’s time we grasped the fact that mountains and sea are not simply backdrops to human activity – this is an ecosystem community. What sort of “greenest city” do we want?

    We already have some 22 Km of seawall rapidly becoming a freeway for non-car traffic – hazardous to children, seniors, pets, dreamers, and anyone who can’t move quickly enough. This short-sighted proposal wants to pave the one last piece of priceless, natural, public access foreshore and beach in the city proper so that speeding cyclists, roller-bladers, skateboarders and joggers, all plugged into their i-devices and oblivious to others and to their surroundings can drive away those who need quiet, and wild nature. This beach is currently a sanctuary available to people from all over the city. It is the go-to place for a much-needed mini mental health break, for a sketching trip, for observing foreshore and indigenous birds, for a learning adventure with a small child, or a quiet read, without the raucous noise of Kits Beach proper. It is a place for quiet contemplation – something psychologists tell us we are suffering from a lack of, as multi-tasking and addiction to digital devices have us increasingly experiencing a state of “continuous partial attention”, a side effect of which is that when deprived of intensive engagement with and through digital devices, symptoms of withdrawal, anxiety, and depression occur. Quiet time spent in wild nature is used to treat such symptoms. And then there is what is known as “nature deficit disorder”. We know that children must experience things in order to truly learn. Experience based learning creates knowledge about, in this case, the natural world.

    Some things cannot be improved – they are wonderful in themselves. This beach is not an error requiring repair or remediation. Vancouver has significant post-industrial damaged foreshore habitat. Why not put money into remediating that?

    As a cyclist, driver, and walker, I believe dedicated bike lanes on roads are safer and better for everyone. Take a lane out of Cornwall/ Point Grey to accommodate it. Make Point Grey west of MacDonald one-way.

    We already have some 22 Km of seawall. Perhaps those of us who live in Vancouver and love our contemplation, who love the place for what it is for itself, might be allowed this small bit of foreshore. Perhaps the needs of the indigenous and wild things of our community, for whom the foreshore and riparian zone habitat is critical habitat, might be considered.

    An awareness of nature in the city and the city in nature seems an admirable goal for a civic party that calls itself “Vision”, and states an intention to be “green”. The preservation of this wild habitat and natural heritage would embody that intention. Seawalls are common in coastal cities. An international city that has retained its wild foreshore is an inspiration.