Vancouver park board postpones decision on seawall linking Kitsilano and Jericho beaches

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The Straight reports that the park board’s meeting about the proposed seawall expansion has put a halt to expansion plans, at least for now:

In the face of intense opposition, the Vancouver park board has put off making a decision on whether to work with the city on connecting the seawall from Jericho to Kitsilano Beach.

At the board meeting last night, all 21 speakers from the community opposed the idea, citing the importance of preserving the foreshore.

Objections ranged widely, encompassing wildlife preservation, privacy, environmental impact and lack of transparency – the anonymous donor causing some concerns. 275 people have signed a petition opposing the seawall idea, calling instead to keep Kitsilano Beach wild.

According to Kitsilano.ca’s coverage of the proposed Kitsilano Beach to Jericho Beach seawall expansion, there are many supporters of the new seawall as well.

Read the full coverage of the park board meeting here and tell us what you think. Should the city expand the seawall?

Last modified: July 25, 2012

17 Responses to " Vancouver park board postpones decision on seawall linking Kitsilano and Jericho beaches "

  1. Mona says:

    most people I talk to, including myself, would like to see the seawall completed. I truthfully don’t understand the opposition — it’s not like the area is an unspoiled nature preserve. There are already seawalls covering the entire area we are talking about, with million dollar homes on top. Many have their own private beach access.

    Adding a path will not make the area any less “natural” than it currently is — it will simply make the area more usable and accessible to everyone — not just the millionaires who own the property next to the beach.

    The opposition seems to be very well organized here. I never even heard of a meeting regarding this issue.

  2. sully says:

    Yeah, great idea!!! Let’s pave all the beaches!!!! Awesome Idea!!!!!

  3. Tony says:

    i’d like to see the sea wall extended and connected to Jericho, would open the area for more people to enjoy and take some traffic off pt grey rd, making for a much more pleasant ride, run, walk, rollerblade, etc…

    The people pulling the environmental card are fooling themselves.

  4. Jones says:

    I’m guessing anyone in favour of this hasn’t ever walked that beach and seen what would be lost if the paving crew is allowed to wreck this corner of the city.

  5. Bill Barilko says:

    I know that so called ‘beach’ of old-I’ve walked it since before most posters here were born- it’s just a rocky shoreline of no particular distinction and absolutely nothing will be lost at all.

    The seawall extension is an idea who’s time has come and I can’t wait to cycle all the way around the bay & the park to Coal Harbour!

  6. David says:

    This beach of no particular distinction is called the “POINT GREY FORESHORE”. It is the last natural beach in the City of Vancouver. On this foreshore a bounteous intertidal zone provides a rich feeding for waterfowl that come in large numbers, especially during the winter months. More than 150 different bird species have been identified here, at which at least 70 are regular winter residents.

    As a concerned citizen wrote on a sign at a beach access point: “This is the very last publicly accessible undeveloped natural beach in the City of Vancouver, a recovering marine habitat. The media has portrayed this beach as a preserve of “the very rich mansion owners of Point Grey Road. Most of them have no access from their property: they may or may not be on the beach. The Point Grey Foreshore belongs to those who love and use it, who do not want to sit with 10,000 others in an artificial environment, who want to watch the herons fish, seals pass by and cormants sun themselves on floating logs. Vancouver has many kilometers of wheel-accessible beach paths, only one “primitive” beach for the general public.

    Another concerned citizen wrote in a Letter to the Editor of the Vancouver Courier on July 13, 2012: “One of the wonderful aspects of living in Vancouver are the pockets of relatively unspoiled nature that the public can enjoy if they want to. So now the two parties at city hall want to ruin the quality of life that many of us enjoy by marketing (and therefore ruining) the very thing that makes Vancouver special. The beach beyond Kits all the way to Spanish Banks is a joy to use for the very fact that there isn’t any formal seawall or path way that the hordes can use… and therefore makes it a gem in Vancouver. When my family and I are down there for our walks and mooching around, it is almost like being on a Gulf Island but with a city view. No crowds, no frenzy, just a wonderful peaceful retreat within the city. It’s a luxury within Vancouver.”

    This is another attempt to homogenize the natural world that we live in. 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. Let’s keep it that way. Don’t turn it into another noisy seawall of cyclists, joggers and skateboarders. We have plenty of those…22 km in fact

    Will we not be satisfied till every square in of our world is paved over. This is not a simple path , it would be an enormous engineering proposition that would destroy the last remaining mile of raw natural beach in our city.

    Wihtout a connection to nature we don’t have much.

  7. City Observer says:

    As a ‘feel good’ issue, placing an accessible seawall from Kits Beach to Jericho seems like a no-brainer. In fact, that’s far from the case.

    At Monday night’s Park Board meeting, there was a broad cross-section of the community represented — mostly renters, all members of the delegation(s) frequent users of the foreshore beach — all of whom were opposed to the idea of the seawall. Not one of those present represented homeowners along the ‘magic mile’ (Point Grey Road, from Macdonald to Alma). Rather those present were concerned citizens who expressed a strong desire to preserve the last piece of natural, unspoiled foreshore habitat in Vancouver, as a legacy for our children for generations to come.

    For a broad spectrum of opinion on the seawall issue, I encourage you to visit the Keep Kits Beach Wild Facebook page (http://is.gd/9SB1ag), or read Allen Garr on the subject (http://is.gd/dMTnzi). Diane Ellis also comments on the seawall issue at Suzuki Elders (http://is.gd/L0Af6N), as does former Park Board Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon, on his blog (http://is.gd/oSRo5j). The Keep Kits Beach Wild petition page (http://is.gd/u4eUUA) records a broad cross-section of opinion on the issue, as well, often in a quite moving fashion.

  8. Sal Robinson says:

    The photo above does not show the area to be built on. I can easily provide one which shows only the trees, rocks, sand, tidepools, and driftwood to be found on the natural beach.

    Objections to the sea wall expansion are nothing to do with the waterfront homeowners whose views and access (with a couple of exceptions, they must use one of the six stairways that the rest of us use) will not change.

    The Point Grey foreshore is a serene sanctuary for all its visitors and residents, human and otherwise, and the idea of putting a freeway through it for the convenience of those who can’t wait to cycle past it is nauseating.

    The traffic problems of Point Grey Road must be solved on Point Grey Road, not on the only unurbanized beach remaining in the city.

  9. Elvira says:

    Obviously supporters of the seawall never use the Point Grey Foreshore beach otherwise they would realize that there’s nowhere to put a seawall.

    Check out my photo taken last night at high tide on the eastern end of the beach near the Trafalgar Street access point and let us know where the seawall would go? Over the people, rocks, trees and beach?

    http://instagram.com/p/NkltOdDL4x/

    And the old log on the beach would be taken out to make way for this “freeway for human-powered wheeled vehicles” as my partner Laurence calls it. Is this what you really want?

    Why not come down to the beach, take a stroll, relax, sit on the log and enjoy the sunset.

    http://instagram.com/p/NkgE6gjL12/

    Petition “KEEP KITS BEACH WILD. Say NO to the Point Grey Foreshore Seawall” is now up to 321 signatures and growing.

    http://www.change.org/petitions/vancouver-parks-board-keep-kits-beach-wild-say-no-to-the-point-grey-foreshore-seawall?fb_action_ids=10150941331486086&fb_source=timeline_og

  10. S. S. says:

    I’ve lived in Kits my whole life – not in a mansion on Pt. Grey Road but in a co-op on Broadway. All through my childhood right up until now (age 24), I’ve chosen the natural beach area over any of the paved sections. Through looking in the tide pools as a kid with my mum I learned what kinds of tiny animals inhabit the water right next to us. Biology and environmental science are now a big part of my life. So is photography – and some of the first photographs I ever sold were of some of the beautiful life that exists in this area.

    Please don’t destroy this life, and other peoples’ opportunity to learn from and enjoy it, all for the sake of trivial human convenience. There are several other places in Vancouver to bike, roller blade, etc. This is the last natural beach in our city. Do we really “need” to destroy it? How can anyone say it’s worth it? Have some respect. Leave it alone.

  11. Carolyn Hawrish says:

    Dear Mr. Bill Barilko and all other dissenters,
    I was at the Park board meeting on Monday night and was one of the 22 speakers. I am by noeans rich and I still love this foreshore. I also ride a bike and have no problem cycling up to 2nd avenue to ride the already existent bike route to Jericho. Would you like us to also pave Pacific Spirit Park so it is more convenient for you? Or petals you’d like to see asphalt and cement paths wend their way through the middle of the woods in Stanley Park. Thanks for playing the age-ist card too, mentioning that you walked the beach before we were born…. apparently it doesn’t make you any wiser; you’d sell out our remaining niches of YES untouched foreshore for the convenience of your workout?! Mr. Barilko, I invite you to come and walk the beach with me so that I can point out to you what does make it special.

  12. S says:

    Anyone who is in favor of the new seawall needs to take a reality check. As to the argument that “everyone” should be able to have access to the proposed soon-to-be developed beaches- there are plenty of beaches in Vancouver that have all public access. Stanley park, English bay, 2nd and 3rd beach, even Kits beach and Jericho already have roads and sidewalks that should enable anyone who is determined to see them be able to.
    The areas that will be affected by the new seawall are quiet, natural, beautiful areas, that upon development will become overcrowded and polluted. If we allow this seawall extension, what is next? The supposed elevator up Grouse? Supermarkets in the Amazon?
    If we are so concerned about everyone having equal access to everything, I propose that first we should be focusing on free education for low income families, or some such endeavor that will actually benefit the nation. Where is the anonymous donor for that?

  13. Reid Stuart says:

    Dear Gregor Robertson,
    I voted for you in the last election, but if you allow this seawall extension I can assure you that you will never again receive my support, or the support of the thousands of other voters who believed you were in the campaign for the greater good of the environment and the city.
    Please thing carefully about the precious are you could potentially destroy by allowing this seawall,
    Sincerely,
    Outraged and concerned voters.

  14. William Bright says:

    One of the rare beauties of Vancouver is that it has easily accessible beauty to all, such as the seawall in Stanley park, but it also has unspoiled, rugged beauty, that the more adventurous traveler craves. Creating a new seawall may open the door to a certain line of tourists, but it will also slam the door to the (exponentially larger) group of tourists who want to see undisturbed natural beauty. The proposal of this seawall was a massive mistake, one that I hope to see rectified shortly.

  15. Gramson says:

    Bill Barilko? Yes, you are old, an old troll. Just a lad in a Leafs jersey when REAL Bill Barilko died in ’51, still a Leafs fan after all these years tramping that annoying damn beach …

    You’re actually kind of awesome, but in the words of Gord Downie:

    “Bill Barilko disappeared
    That summer
    He was on a fishing trip …”

  16. Randey says:

    I’m against a seawall being constructed on the last remaining natural beach in the city. I’ve lived in Kits for 27 years, 3 blocks away from the beach and have accessed it numerous times along with my children as they were growing up. The area in question is already accessible to the public from a large stairwell at the foot of Trafalgar and via a beautiful natural pathway west of Kits beach.So accessibility to the area is not an issue for anyone who wants to get off their butt and walk there. Regarding biking, you currently cannot bike along the existing seawall at Kits beach north of the pool anyway. Bike traffic is already channeled to the south pathway in the park adjacent to Cornwall.The logical extension of that is westbound on Cornwall/Pt Grey road, which could easily accommodate a bike lane up to Waterloo st. For those who have frequented the Pt Grey foreshore area in question most know it is a small beautiful natural beach area where a person can escape from the homogenized sameness of the other beaches in the city. It is quite a narrow strip, almost completely underwater at high tide, so I don’t see any way to save it and it’s natural beauty if you ram a seawall in there. There is an arrogance that every generation has when they are young that they are going to improve nature. As we grow older we realize that nature has done a pretty good job on its own. This is the last natural beach in Vancouver. Leave it alone so future generations can appreciate it.

  17. Bill Barilko says:

    Such a unique combination of sentiment & ignorance here-the simple fact is that there is no ‘natural’ waterfront anywhere in Vancouver-see towering cement walls fronting waterfront properties for details.

    The dozens & dozens of kinds of birds will do just fine-note that these same birds forage off Stanley Park with it’s long established seawall.

    Some of the most important Herring spawning habitat in the Lower Mainland still exists a stone’s throw from the seawall in Coal Harbour-how many of you knew that?