A highly-visible fixture on the Coal Harbour waterfront in downtown Vancouver is set to be removed, at least temporarily, while the Vancouver Park Board determines its future.
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The boat dock at Harbour Green Park, just west of the Vancouver Convention Centre and the seaplane terminal, has been closed to the public and all vessels since February 2018 due to its deteriorating condition, and over the coming weeks it will be removed from the area and stored off-site.
Earlier this spring, park board commissioners, on the advice of staff, proceeded with early interim recommendations on the dock.
It was built in 2003 as a community amenity contribution by an area developer, but it has been a persistent maintenance problem for the park board.
Over the years, four separate repairs have been conducted on the structure, which entails a concrete float and gangway supported by piles.
But the repairs have not been effective, and the original design failed to include a “fender system” to dissipate berthing energy. The location of the dock is also not in a sheltered area of Coal Harbour, which means it is affected by the wakes of the high volume of harbour traffic.
Moreover, many vessels using the dock exceed the original design capacity of 15,000 lbs and length of 35 ft, including harbour charter boats, the Canadian Forces’ coastal defence vessels and, in one instance, a large sailboat for an episode of The Amazing Race Canada.
This has occurred because the dock has no moorage fees or permits and no dedicated enforcement staff, which is a unique situation for a dock in the region.
Early options for the dock’s future include further restoration work with a cost ranging between $350,000 and $550,000, but without the regulation of vessels it is highly likely the dock will be damaged again in the future.
There could also be physical modifications to restrict dock usage to the original design of small vessels.
Another option that may be required, especially to accommodate larger vessels, may be a full rebuild at a cost of over $2 million. This option could be pursued if a decision is made to allow the dock be used for a commuter ferry service.
The park board plans on engaging in a public consultation on the dock’s future this summer. If commissioners approve a new plan this fall, design and permitting could begin in early 2020, followed by the start of construction in early 2021.