11 March 2009

Jericho Wharf

It seems my decision to uphold the previous Park Board plan regarding Jericho Wharf has not sat well with some members of the community (though I must say I am very heartened by the overwhelming support I have received overall). One only has to look at my record over the past 10 years of advocating for the preservation of, and public access for, our foreshore to know that it would have to be a very compelling argument for me to vote against more public access.

One writer accused me of not fulfilling a campaign promise to reverse the previous Board decision. This is in fact wrong, as I never promised to reverse the decision, but to re-examine it. Here in part is my reply to that writer:

During the civic election campaign I made a commitment to re-examine the decision made by the former Park Board to remove a portion of the wharf and return the area to a natural foreshore. On February 3rd the newly convened Planning and Environment Committee, of which I am member, met to discuss this issue. At that meeting members of the public were invited to share new information with the committee showing that the decision made was not the correct one. At that meeting I heard no new or compelling information suggesting that the decision was not the correct one.

Staff shared with us the plan proposed, which includes the retention and refurbishing of about 1/3 of the existing pier to serve as a reminder of the usage of the area during wartime and for the use and enjoyment of the public, as well as a return of the remaining area to a natural foreshore. Staff then shared with us the process of public consultation which was taken to seek input to the plan. I think the public process was fair and allowed all stakeholders a voice.

Vancouver being a coastal city is blessed with a beautiful natural foreshore, but unfortunately much of it is not accessible to the public. I believe that the plan presented allows for a dignified memorial to those who served, as well as allowing more of our foreshore to be accessible.

No decision can fulfil all of the interests expressed during the public process, but I truly believe that this plan satisfies the wants of the community. It retains a portion of the pier as a memorial, while allowing access to a natural foreshore."

There are many other compelling reasons to uphold the decision, which I will share with this blog at another time. I believe I made the right decision at the committee meeting and continue to believe this is the right plan for Jericho.

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