Visited everyday by dog walkers, joggers, tourists, cyclists and people just out for a nice outdoor stroll along the water, the Stanley Park seawall is getting the biggest restoration of its kind.
Vancouver Park Board crews have already begun preliminary work on the nine-kilometre structure, in need of repair due to an ongoing battle with Mother Nature.
“The seawall is subject to seasonal battering, as well as large storms, which damage the structure and necessitated the restoration work,” said park board chairperson Stuart Mackinnon. “The restoration will allow local residents and visitors to continue to enjoy recreational activities for many more years on the seawall.”
Two particularly vulnerable sections, at Sunset Beach between Inukshuk and Broughton Street and English Bay between Park Lane and Second Beach, have already been reinforced with concrete retaining walls about eight years ago. In 2013 and 2016, an independent assessment was conducted to identify other sensitive areas in need of quick attention.
The project is broken down into two phases, consisting of hole filling, stone replacement, foundation stabilization and the addition of rocks to protect against water erosion in key locations. The first phase is slated for completion in August, during which 100-metre stretches of seawall traffic will be merged meaning cyclists need to dismount. The second should start shortly after pending approval by the board.
While Stanley Park officially opened in 1888, named after Canadian Governor General Lord Frederick Stanley, the initial part of the seawall wasn’t built until 1917. Designed to combat erosion, the mammoth undertaking took 60 years to complete, much of it taking place between 1950 and 1980 largely due to intermittent funding. In subsequent years, the wall was extended outside Stanley Park.