March 16, 2019 6:21 pm
Updated: March 16, 2019 6:22 pm

Stanley Park Seawall reopens after falling ice prompted longest closure in history

The stretch of the Stanley Park Seawall between Siwash Rock and the Lions Gate Bridge, which reopened Saturday over a month after a falling ice risk forced it to close.

Twitter/Vancouver Park Board

Another sign that warmer weather is finally around the corner arrived early Saturday morning, after a stretch of the Stanley Park Seawall finally reopened.

The stretch of the iconic pathway running from Siwash Rock to the Lions Gate Bridge had been closed since Feb. 7 due to the risk of falling ice from the rock face directly above the path.

Early Saturday morning, the Vancouver Park Board announced that the pathway had reopened, ending what they called the longest closure of the seawall in its nearly 40-year history.

The park board has been updating the public regularly about the status of the pathway, saying they were waiting for above-zero temperatures to stay steady enough to melt the ice.

WATCH: Stanley Park seawall closed because of ice bombs (2016)

The closure came in the midst of a nasty winter for the Lower Mainland, which saw heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures blanket the region.

READ MORE: Snowfall warning ends for Metro Vancouver/Fraser Valley, but weather could still be a problem Friday

Wildly shifting temperatures in the days following the snowfall in early February caused ice to break off and fall onto the path.

Vancouver Park Board director Howard Normann said Saturday the closure took especially long because of the lack of sunshine on that stretch, which allowed massive amounts of ice to form.

“We thought we were in the clear for a little while, but we had large, anywhere for 10 to 20-pound blocks [of ice] breaking off from about 30 to 50 feet up and crashing onto the seawall. So we had to keep it shut down,” he said.

READ MORE: Vancouver paddlers say new restrictions on waters off Stanley Park go too far

Normann said scalers were brought in over the past three days to break any loose material off the wall, and a crew cleaned and power washed the rockface to get the path ready for Saturday morning.

The director added getting the path reopened is a huge relief for both the Park Board and visitors to the seawall.

“People were definitely frustrated, because everyone loves the seawall,” Normann said. “But safety first is always our priority.”

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