Vancouver seawall damaged as high tides, winds pummel B.C.’s South Coast

January 8, 2022
Vancouver seawall damaged as high tides, winds pummel B.C.'s South Coast
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Vancouver’s Stanley Park seawall was damaged and closed to the public after high tides and extreme wind pummeled B.C.’s South Coast on Friday.

The seawall will remain closed between Sunset Beach and the Lions Gate Bridge as staff focus on clearing debris, the Vancouver Park Board said in a statement. It and the park were closed to the public earlier in the day because of the hazards.

The District of West Vancouver has also closed its seawalk and Ambleside Park, which was partially flooded because of the extreme wet conditions.

English Bay Beach in Vancouver’s West End was also flooded, with waves over a metre high spotted crashing ashore. At Jericho Beach on Vancouver’s West Side, the pier was partially destroyed on Thursday, leaving lumber piled haphazardly on the sand.

The town of Qualicum Beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island, also posted a statement calling its waterfront “hazardous,” saying its seawall has been partially damaged and asking the public to avoid the area. 

A large wave hits the seawall in English Bay in Vancouver on Friday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Angela Danyluk, a senior sustainability specialist at the City of Vancouver, said the “king tide” occurred around 10 a.m. local time on Friday, along with a storm surge and strong westerly winds with gusts of up to 50 kilometres per hour.

Danyluk said king tides — a colloquial term for the highest tides — can happen throughout the year, but are most likely to occur in December, January and February because the earth, moon, and sun are perfectly aligned to reinforce their gravitational pull.

Waves crash into the Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver. (CBC)

“They’re predictable — we know when they’re coming. It’s just that when they come at this time of year there’s often a storm surge event and rain, and in our case this week, snow,” she said. 

“Jericho Pier looked like more of a debris trap today than an actual pier that you can fish from.” 

Throughout the day on Friday, B.C. Hydro scrambled to restore power to thousands of customers left in the dark thanks to the powerful winds. More than 20,000 customers woke up in the dark Friday morning, primarily on the Lower Mainland, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.

Waves crash into the seawall in English Bay on Friday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)



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