Vancouver’s Jericho pier should be demolished, parks staff say

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Vancouver park board staff are recommending the damaged Jericho pier should be demolished due to the cost of rebuilding it, and as a way to remove a colonial structure from the landscape.

On Monday, parks board will be presented with a report that explains how and why the pier should be removed, while still maintaining a berm to protect the beach in front of the Jericho Sailing Club.

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According to the staff report, the pier was built during the Second World War as part of a Canadian Air Force base and was refurbished in 1977.

It is built on lands archeologically, culturally, and ecologically significant to local First Nations and until it was closed in January 2022 after being severely damaged by a storm surge, had served as a mooring location for marine rescue vessels and as a view and crabbing spot.

The report states it will cost up to $25 million to replace and $3.6 million to demolish. If it is removed the parks board can expect up to $550,000 in insurance payout but a claim must be lodged by Jan. 2024.

“Staff seek a decision from the board to deconstruct Jericho Beach Park Pier while keeping in place and suitably reinforcing the breakwater so as to maintain protection of the Jericho Sailing Centre harbour,” the report states.

“The decision will not preclude future opportunities to redevelop the pier site if or when sufficient funding becomes available and if future plans for the site call for its replacement.”

The report adds that removal would be a reconciliation effort.

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“Removal of this colonial structure will demonstrate the park board’s commitment to decolonization and reconciliation. Future changes at this site can be undertaken in collaboration with the host nations, with a key consideration being the linkage and needs arising from the redevelopment of the Jericho Lands.”

The Jericho Lands development south of the Jericho Beach lands is occurring on land owned by the xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.

The development envisions 13,000 homes for the property, which takes up about a third of a square kilometre.

with file from Dan Fumano

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