18 March 2009

Letter to the editor: Jericho Wharf

Letter of the week
Vancouver Courier
Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To the editor:
Re: "Wharf advocates attack park commissioner," Letters, March 4.

Joan Bunn needs to get her facts straight. To suggest that the crumbling concrete, creosote and steel of the Jericho Wharf is green because "it is basically inert" is not only incorrect, it shows a complete misunderstanding of ecological health. The decaying wharf is the opposite of "green." Its creosoted pilings continue to leak toxic compounds into an area that has been designated by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans as prime juvenile fish habitat. The concrete and steel of the wharf and the rip rap provide absolutely no healthy habitat for any creature, except perhaps rats.

I have worked as a volunteer with the Jericho Stewardship Group for the last five years to restore and enhance habitat in the park. Despite its relatively small size, the park is critical habitat for a number of species, including species at risk. Rare species are also encountered in the park, whether a northern goshawk, a water scorpion or a tiny shrew. I can assure readers that none of them are dependent on the dilapidated wharf for their survival.

Originally, the Jericho Stewardship Group advocated for the wharf's complete destruction and restoration of the foreshore with native dune plants and features that would have provided habitat for another complement of species to further enhance the biodiversity of the park.

When the previous park board and park board staff recommended the demolition of most of the wharf, but restoration of a 500-square-foot section to recognize its value to part of the community, we thought it a compromise that we could live with. That this small special-interest group is unwilling to accept a reasonable compromise and acknowledge the biological and natural values of the site is disappointing, to say the least.

Dawn Hanna,

© Vancouver Courier 2009

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