The Vancouver Parks Board is proposing to extend the seawall from just west of Kitsilano Pool along the quiet wild beach to Spanish Banks. Vision Vancouver has lined up a private donor who is offering $10 million to pay for the costs. Park Board Chair Sarah Blyth introduced a seawall motion on July 9, 2012, “ which, if approved July 23, will see staff developing options to connect the seawall and provide a timeline and estimate of costs for the job ... That preliminary work will include city engineering reports, community consultations, meeting with residents along the route, discussions with the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans, which manages the foreshore along that stretch of beach, and nailing down the cost and funding." (Vancouver Courier July 11, 2012)
This beach 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 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.
We urge the Vancouver Parks Board and City Council to take a walk on this quiet beach and reconsider your plans to extend the seawall. Keep Kits Beach Wild. Say no to the Point Grey Foreshore seawall.
We also ask that you reveal the anonymous donor. We're entitled to know this information so that we can determine if there are any vested interests.