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City to undertake hydraulic modelling of False Creek, identify future swimming possibilities

July 25 2017

“I’m pleased the City is taking the important first step to significantly boost water quality in False Creek, and I’m looking forward to the City working with the Park Board to create new options for the public to enjoy False Creek.”

View of False Creek and Burrard Bridge

Today the City approved next steps to identify opportunities to improve water quality and make False Creek safely swimmable in the future.

“False Creek is a public amenity that has the potential to be Vancouver’s crowned jewel of our waterways for swimmers, boaters, kayakers, and other recreational users to enjoy year-round,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “I’m pleased the City is taking the important first step to significantly boost water quality in False Creek, and I’m looking forward to the City working with the Park Board to create new options for the public to enjoy False Creek.”

Understanding the water flow

One of the key steps the City will take is to complete a hydraulic model and water quality performance model to better understand how water flows in and out of False Creek and how pollution moves within and out of the basin.

To increase access to recreational water, the City will also work with the Vancouver Park Board to look into the feasibility of a floating swimming pool in False Creek and explore opportunities for improved water recreation in North East False Creek Park in the current design process. 

Steps to address contaminants 

The City has taken a number of steps to address contaminants in False Creek, including:

  • A long-term sewer separation program
  • Marina and boat sewage management bylaws
  • Green infrastructure implementation
  • Education and enforcement 

Quick Starts initiatives

On May 30, 2017, Council passed a motion for the City of Vancouver to establish a Waterfront Initiative to improve water quality and access to major natural waterways surrounding Vancouver, including a series of Quick Starts initiatives to make recreational waters like False Creek safely swimmable before Summer 2018.  

Planning for the launch of the Quick Starts is now underway, with upcoming actions including:

  • Launching a mobile pump-out service in False Creek for recreational boaters
  • Testing effective solutions for identifying offenders, including the use of divers
  • Continuing to enhance enforcement for boats improperly discharging of sewage waste with measures that escalate from education and warning by the VPD Marine Unit and City’s Environmental Protection Officers to prosecutions

Improving water quality is an ongoing project

Improving the water quality of the Vancouver’s surrounding water bodies has been an ongoing project for decades and has seen significant improvements since False Creek was an industrial centre. 

Both in False Creek and in other water surrounding Vancouver, considerable progress has been made to clean up water following Vancouver’s industrial past and old style sewer systems.

One example is at CRAB Park beach, where E.coli levels concentrations are now similar to those at English Bay beaches. 

Read the council report  (83 KB)