CityHallWatch obtained this summary statement of the issues from Mel Lehan, long-time community activist and member of The Foreshore Society.
Experts have stated that this vital natural foreshore is an important haven of significant geological features and a repository for marine, botanical and bird life. They have concluded that this is a very fragile ecosystem that would not do well with any type of seawall or walkway. The impact on the living foreshore organisms would be too great. The impact of damage to one part of the foreshore would ripple all the way through the food-web throughout the whole area.
In addition to preserving this fragile and important ecosystem, it’s also about having a wilderness experience in the heart of a big city. A place where people can go to be in a quiet, reflective space that parallels being hundreds of miles away in a remote ocean location. It cannot be stressed too strongly how important it is to have diversity within the foreshore in our city. Kits Beach and Jericho Beach are very high impact use areas. We also need to have a low impact area to ensure that we can have a rural experience in the heart of a big city.
We have 22 kilometres of seawall in Vancouver where people can walk along a seawall. It’s crucial to save the remaining kilometre and a half as a quiet, calm and reflective natural area.
At the moment there are seven access points down to the foreshore from Point Grey Road. People have been advocating for years to have these made wheelchair and stroller accessible and to create sitting and viewing spaces down below. This is definitely doable and the Park Board can do so now. In addition there are already four pocket parks and two major parks along the route where there are both access points to the foreshore and wonderful views. If these proposed changes are made, everyone will have access down to the foreshore.
With regard to biking and running, it has been suggested that one lane of Point Grey Road be diverted for bikes and runners. The above mentioned access points and the mini parks along the way all provide access to, and views of, the foreshore without impacting it in a harmful manner as a seawall would.
It’s absolutely imperative that Vancouver keep the most vital remaining natural foreshore in Vancouver wild!