Vancouver park board releases draft plan for West End waterfront

Plan includes raising and extending English Bay and Sunset beaches, building two islands and linking Morton Park to the sea

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Vancouver residents are being asked for input on plans to revitalize and climate-proof the West End waterfront from the base of the Burrard Bridge to Stanley Park.

The plan, dubbed Imagine West End Waterfront, covers the stretch of paths, parks and beaches from the bridge west to the park and is set to be implemented over the next 30 years.

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Its goals include raising and extending English Bay and Sunset beaches by up to a metre and creating an intertidal zone between those two beaches.

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The plan is broken down into five “snapshot” areas — English Bay, Sunset Beach Park, Morton Park, Alexandra Park and Beach Avenue.

Morton Park, the location of the A-maze-ing Laughter statues, will be merged into the English Bay area by closing the stretch of Beach Avenue that runs between the park and the beach.

There is also a plan to build two habitat islands at the bottom of Chilco Street to help mitigate wave-caused flooding. It is also proposed to create an elevated boardwalk and viewing deck facing those islands and a low-tide path at Sunset Beach that allows tidal zone walking access when the water levels are down.

An over-the-water walking platform is also suggested for the area in front of the Vancouver Aquatic Centre.

According to the document, data suggests sea levels will rise by around a metre over the next 80 years, while there will be more frequent and stronger coastal storm surges as well as population growth.

Imagine West End Waterfront
Imagine West End Waterfront Photo by

All changing rooms and washrooms would be upgraded, while Sunset Beach could be the site of an amphitheatre with festival lawn, a café and a roller plaza.

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The document states a goal is to improve access for all types of small-wheeled devices including skateboards, push scooters, e-scooters and hoverboards.

For people driving or taking transit, Beach Avenue west of Denman Street would become two way, while the Denman Street/Davie Street/Beach Avenue intersection will be realigned and two-way transit be created on Pacific Street to better connect bus service from Burrard Street.

“The new concept design marks not only a critical next step in our approach to coastal adaptation, but also captures the many challenges and opportunities when reimagining cities of the future,” said Tiina Mack, parks board’s director of planning and park development.

Mack said Vancouver residents have until Nov. 26 to review the plan and make a comment.

She said those comments will “inform the final West End Waterfront Plan.”

The plan will then be presented to Vancouver parks board and the City of Vancouver council in spring 2024.

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