I have just viewed the options for the foot of Lonsdale and Lot 5 developments. I can't believe it. Why would we use prime waterfront land for a museum and an art gallery - even a college? These are interior activities. They could go anywhere. What is most important about this site is to let people access the water. I don't mean getting in a 42-foot boat and running across to Coal Harbour. There are plenty of private marinas that support this activity.
I mean small boats with regular people getting on the water and enjoying it as the resource that belongs to all of us. I recognize that the harbour is busy with commercial and commuter traffic; however we can use creative means to direct recreational boating channels for kayakers, rowers, dragon boaters and other small craft.
We should seriously be considering a community based water sport centre that houses dragon boats, First Nations canoes, rowing and kayaking programs run by community groups for the use of groups and individuals. Imagine the best of Granville Island and Jericho Beach in one place.
Yes, there is a SeaBus. Yes, there is a shipyard. Yes, there are port facilities. We should still have public access to the ocean. Our waterfront has largely been conceived as a concrete cliff - removing people from the water, not inviting them to it. Between Ambleside and Cates Park where can a person actually access the water to get their feet wet or watch the kids try to hold back the tide with their dams or wobble around on a paddle board?
How about a "real accessible" beach? Too pie in the sky? Look directly south across the harbour! Right beside Ballantyne Pier - one of the busiest container ports in the harbour - is a real beach. Have we so forgotten that boating and access to water is part of the community's history that we focus on saving pieces of our shipbuilding heritage, but do not actually let people access the water?
Let's give this space and all of our public waterfront lands a big rethink. How might they become a real waterfront for you and I to use in order to explore the natural resource we collectively own?
Heather Drugge, North Vancouver