Vancouver Park Board embarks on new plan for non-motorized water sports

Jun 6 2019, 6:45 am

There are a number of steps the Vancouver Park Board can take to improve its strategy for non-motorized watercraft recreation.

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On Monday, park board commissioners are expected to approve the 10-year On Water Strategy, which aims to encourage more people into non-motorized water sports and increase physical access to the water from the shoreline.

“Vancouver is a city surrounded by water – this relationship shapes us, inspires us and defines us. Our relationship to the waterfront is what sets us apart on the global stage of world-class cities and is a key part of our identity – from our iconic seawall to our sensational beaches, both in the heart of the urban core and at the city’s more naturalized edges,” reads the park board’s report.

“Vancouver’s geography provides unique opportunities for recreation on – and connection to – our surrounding waters.”

Non-motorized water sport activities include canoeing, kite surfing, rowing, dragon boating, outrigging, windsurfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and small craft sailing.

Vancouver On Water Strategy study area. (Vancouver Park Board)

Vancouver On Water Strategy study area. (Vancouver Park Board)

The strategy examined the waterway areas of False Creek, Spanish Banks, English Bay, and Coal Harbour, which are regular by varying entities such as the Port of Vancouver and Transport Canada. The Fraser River was not included due to its heavy industrial use, strong currents, and the lack of facilities.

A number of directions and action points have been outlined in the strategy, including a facility and accessibility assessment of park board launch points to examine priorities for maintenance and improvements. Capital investments on new and improved facilities will entail a renewal of the Alder Bay dock, new Jericho Pier accessible floating dock, and a new non-motorized facility in Northeast False Creek as part of the Creekside Park expansion.

Artistic rendering of the new entry plaza into Jericho Pier at Jericho Beach in Vancouver. (City of Vancouver)

As well, a greater emphasis will be placed on non-motorized watercraft recreational programs and services for diverse activities for all ages and abilities.

Over the longer term, the park board will also prioritize strategic parkland acquisition adjacent to Vancouver’s waterfront to enhance access from land to water, and identify new opportunities to create more naturalized shoreline areas to enhance biodiversity and improve water quality.

Aerial view of the Northeast False Creek redevelopment. (CIVITAS)

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