British Columbia

Stanley Park seawall reopens to public after completion of winter storm damage repairs

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation announced Wednesday that the final 3.5 kilometre section of Stanley Park's iconic seawall has reopened after damage from winter storms forced its closure in January.

Park board says it can now refocus efforts on storm damaged Kitsilano pool, Jericho Pier

Vancouver Park Board officials have reopened the final stretch of the storm ravaged Stanley Park seawall. (Vancouver Park Board)

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation announced the reopening of the final section of the Stanley Park seawall on Wednesday.

A 3.5 kilometres stretch of the popular Vancouver attraction between Third Beach and the Lions Gate Bridge had been closed to the public since Jan. 7, when extreme winds and large amounts of debris tossed ashore by a king tide that day damaged the century old public amenity.

According to a park board statement, crews have been working tirelessly to reopen it so residents and visitors can enjoy the pathway in time for the warmer months.

"This storm was unlike anything we had seen before, but we know how important the seawall is to our community with millions of visitors who use it every year, so repairing it quickly was of the highest priority for us," wrote Dave Hutch, director of park planning and development.

He added that access to parts of the seawall was sometimes difficult, weather-dependent and required careful timing as additional king tides affected the area.

The park board said its approach has been to repair the damage "in-situ" and add reinforcement where possible, including the use of lock blocks to create retaining walls in areas where the seawall collapsed.

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The park board cautions that because the seawall is continually exposed to the elements and extreme weather, visitors should be aware that minor repairs are ongoing but will not impact access to the pathway.

A damaged section of the Vancouver seawall that crews were still working to repair on Jan 14. 2022, after high tides and extreme weather battered the B.C. South Coast a week earlier. (Tricia Barker)

Kits Pool, Jericho Pier 

With this final section reopened, staff can now focus their attention on the important work of repairing Kitsilano Pool, Jericho Pier and other areas damaged by storms, it added.

"Climate change is making storm events like those in November 2021 and January 2022 more frequent and severe," wrote Hutch.

"This extreme weather was another wake-up call [...] and a look into a future of increased sea levels and changing coastlines," he said.

The park board said it will be initiating conversations with residents about how it should plan for this uncertain future, and how the city's waterfront parks, the seawall and beaches will adapt to the changing climate.