City council votes in favour of exploring options for Vancouver seawall expansion
Vancouver city council passed a motion today (July 10) directing staff to work with the park board to explore options for expanding the seawall, including potential extensions from Jericho Beach to Kitsilano, and along the Fraser River.
The motion moved by NPA councillor George Affleck and amended by Vision Vancouver councillor Heather Deal calls on city staff to support the Vancouver park board in its efforts to assess options for the Jericho Beach to Kitsilano link, and to look into potential environmental impacts, residential security, and seawater levels in the area.
“It’s really about public process and asking staff to go back, look into the possibilities of this, make sure that all issues are covered, that we make sure we do our due diligence, that we look at financing, we look at privacy, we look at security, we look at environmental issues,” Affleck said in council chambers.
As part of the amended motion, council directed staff to work with the park board to identify possibilities for increasing public access to the waterfront city-wide, including along the Fraser River.
“I’d like to work with the park board to look for opportunities to do some seawall work in other parts of the city, including the northeast sector, and along the Fraser River, which has long been under-utilized as a public realm opportunity for the city,” said Deal.
The councillor said as part of the city’s long-term transportation plan, staff are already considering extending the seawall as a potential transportation improvement in the Point Grey area.
The possibility of an expanded seawall is also on the agenda at the next park board meeting in the form of a motion from chair Sarah Blyth. The city has been approached by an anonymous donor willing to contribute to the expansion, according to Blyth.
That private donation has prompted criticism from Affleck. The NPA councillor said in an interview with the Straight last week that while he was pleased to see a private funder come forward in support of the seawall expansion, he doesn’t feel comfortable not knowing who the anonymous donor is.
“I think when the city takes money, they need to know where it comes from,” he said.
Some Vision Vancouver councillors fired back at Affleck in council chambers today over the criticism.
“I think it’s very important that when people come forward and offer to help the city anonymously that we respect their contribution and their wish to remain anonymous,” said Geoff Meggs.
“Usually in my experience, these are people who are in a position to contribute, but are not looking for personal credit, just to give back to the city and improve it in a general way.”
Green councillor Adriane Carr said she’s been contacted by members of the public who have environmental concerns about an expanded seawall along certain portions of the waterfront in the Kitsilano and Point Grey areas.
“I think the studies need to be thorough [and] I think that if there’s a decision to go ahead, this project should include the most innovative of engineering, the greenest of engineering, in order to minimize any kind of impact,” she said.
Blyth’s seawall expansion motion will be discussed at the park board's next meeting on July 23.