Park Board approves strategy for improved non-motorized watercraft opportunities
Our waterfront is a treasured asset and a key part of our identity – from the seawall to our beautiful beaches. The On Water Strategy, I hope, will encourage more people to explore non-motorized water sports & increase access to the water from the shore.
Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon
The Vancouver Park Board has approved the On Water Strategy PDF file (15 MB), a document that will guide the planning and design of facilities and programs serving canoers, kayakers paddleboarders, and many other water recreation enthusiasts in Vancouver over the next 10 years
The On Water, Vancouver’s Non-motorized Watercraft Recreation Strategy was approved by the Board at a meeting last night. Non-motorized water sport activities include canoeing, kite surfing, rowing, dragon boating, outrigging, windsurfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and small craft sailing.
The strategy includes quick start projects, including a user map that illustrates potential locations for different activities and abilities, as well as information about safety, facilities, and amenity locations.
Waterfront is treasured asset
The guide will be distributed online and at community centres and be updated every two years.
“Our waterfront is a treasured asset and a key part of our identity – from the seawall to our beautiful beaches. The On Water Strategy, I hope, will encourage more people to explore non-motorized water sports and increase access to the water from the shoreline,” said Vancouver Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon.
The strategy examines the waterway areas of False Creek, Spanish Banks, English Bay, and Burrard Inlet near Coal Harbour. The Fraser River was not included due to its heavy industrial use, strong currents, and the lack of facilities. Future updates to the strategy should consider expanding the scope to align with increased recreational activity expected along the Fraser River.
Comprehensive public engagement
The strategy was developed and supported through a comprehensive public engagement process, which began in summer 2017 and ran until early this year.
It describes the current state of non-motorized watercraft facilities and activities, and proposes strategies to deliver on five key directions (expand opportunities and participation, increase access to water, improve safety and access to information, protect the environment, and foster opportunities to build community) over the next decade to help bring Vancouver closer to a vision for high-quality, accessible non-motorized watercraft recreation.
Other quick start projects include identifying and providing watercraft launch areas at beaches and parks, delivering more learn-to-paddle programs, and replacing the Alder Bay Dock next to the False Creek Community Centre with a dock that is universally accessible. A concept plan was developed through a series of engagement events with the False Creek Community Association and CMHC Granville Island, user groups, and the public.
Next steps include hiring a structural marine engineer to produce detailed design drawings and specifications.