Stanley Park seawall replacement cost estimated at $250-300 million

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Stanley Park seawall replacement cost estimated at $250-300 million
Vancouver Park Board commissioners received a damage update on the 2021-2022 storm season Monday evening. As Kristen Robinson reports, they learned it will cost up to $300 million to replace the eight-kilometre Stanley Park seawall with a more resilient breakwater – Jan 17, 2023

The Vancouver Park Board received an update Monday on the progress and cost of repairs from powerful storms that damaged the city’s waterfront last fall and winter, and fixing the battered infrastructure won’t be cheap.

Commissioners learned it will cost up to $300 million to replace eight-kilometres of the 10 kilometre Stanley Park seawall with a breakwater that can withstand future storms.

King tides combined with strong winds and storm surges in November 2021 and January 2022 resulted in significant damage to the Stanley Park seawall, Kits Pool area and Jericho Pier.

Read more: Final section of Stanley Park seawall reopens after storm damage repair

The shoreline destruction stretches from Prospect Point to Spanish Banks, with the heaviest damage along the Stanley Park seawall between Siwash Rock and Third Beach, Kitsilano Beach and Spanish Banks west.

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The seawall section between Third Beach and Prospect Point has since been rebuilt, with archaeological oversight from the city’s three host nations.

The Park Board has spent $1.1 million on seawall and shoreline repairs to date, and expects it will spend another $1.2 million for a total of $2.3 million.

According to senior engineer Kate McIntyre, the 2023-2026 Capital Plan allocates $3.5 million for “proactive and reactive” repairs on Park Board sections of seawall and shoreline.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver’s damaged seawall a victim of its own popularity'
Vancouver’s damaged seawall a victim of its own popularity

“The replacement cost of the approximately eight kilometres of seawall around Stanley Park, including all associated project costs – that could be between approximately $250 and $300 million,” McIntyre told commissioners.

The Park Board received the sticker shock as staff gave a presentation on predicting coastal flooding, and the adaptive measures needed as sea levels rise due to climate change.

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“In its current form, it’s going to keep getting destroyed and as water levels rise, the storms get more extreme – we can expect more of that,” ABC Vancouver commissioner Brennan Bastyovanszky told Global News.

Since the federal government owns the land and leases Stanley Park to the city of Vancouver, the Park Board is looking to Ottawa to help fund a more resilient seawall.

“There are discussions already at trying to source that,” said Bastyovanszky.

“There have been positive discussions and were really hoping that the feds come to the table so that we don’t lose not only the jewel of Vancouver, but the jewel of Canada.”

Read more: Repairing Jericho Pier likely to require federal funds, park commissioner says

When Bastyovanszky asked how much beach had been lost in recent storm events and how bad the shoreline situation is, staff did not have an answer.

“The short answer is we don’t know,” said park development manager Ian Stewart, who added this will be rigorously studied as part of their coastal adaptation planning work.

Meantime, the Jericho Pier remains closed after back to back storms reduced it to a stack of timber.

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Repair costs are still being evaluated after a marine consultant’s assessment of the damage, and staff will report back to commissioners in the coming months with “options” going forward.

Construction is set to begin soon at Spanish Banks west, where coastal erosion destroyed parts of the walkway and cycling path.

Repairs to Kits Pool’s basin and structure are weather dependent and have cost $250,000 so far.

With files from Simon Little.

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