One of Vancouver’s most popular attractions at Stanley Park is getting a $4.5 million facelift.
On Thursday, the Vancouver Park Board announced it is undertaking the largest restoration project of the 9 km Stanley Park seawall in its 101-year history.
“The seawall is subject to seasonal battering, as well as large storms, which damage the structure and necessitated the restoration work,” said Stuart Mackinnon, Vancouver Park Board Chair. “The restoration will allow local residents and visitors to continue to enjoy recreational activities for many more years on the seawall.”
In 2010 and 2011, two vulnerable portions of the seawall at Sunset Beach between Inukshuk and Broughton Street and English Bay between Park Lane and Second Beach were replaced with reinforced concrete retaining walls.
The Park Board conducted a comprehensive independent assessment of the seawall in 2013 and 2016 which identified the location, type, degree of damages, and provided recommendations on high priority areas for repairs.
In response, restoration work will be conducted in two phases. This includes the filling of holes, stone replacement, stabilizing of foundations, and installation of rocks to protect against water erosion at priority locations between Brockton Point and Sunset Beach Park, just outside Stanley Park.
The repairs are meant to “increase the resiliency” of the seawall against more aggressive storms.
During the first phase, which is expected to be completed in August, 100-metre sections of the seawall will be temporarily merged and cyclists will need to dismount.
The second phase requires approval by the board and is expected to begin shortly after the first phase is completed.
The park board said crews have already begun work along the foreshore in English Bay.
Stanley Park seawall took 60 years to complete
Created in 1917 with the goal of staving off erosion, the Stanley Park seawall took 60 years to complete. Work continued intermittently as resources became available, including a federal employment program during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
The majority of the work was carried out between 1950 and 1980.
The seawall is associated with the noteworthy contributions of park employees, including master stone mason James Cunningham, who worked on its construction for more than 30 years, and Stuart Lefeaux, the park superintendent and engineer, who supervised the major expansion and completion of the seawall in the last three decades of construction.
The seawall has been extended outside of Stanley Park since 1980.