The Jericho Wharf, originally constructed as a sea plane base during World War II, will soon be demolished and the beach beneath it will be restored.
Mark Hasiuk of The Vancouver Courier wrote in November of 2010: “Built for the former Royal Canadian Air Force, the wharf’s exact construction date is unknown although archival evidence dates the wharf back to 1940. During the Second World War, Jericho Beach was home to an RCAF station, which launched coastline air patrols for Japanese submarines. During the Cold War, the wharf (160 metres long, 40 metres wide) helped connect personnel and equipment to amphibious aircraft. In the storied history of wartime installations, the Jericho Wharf barely registers. But in Vancouver, a city isolated from the great conflicts of the last century, it remains a proud symbol of a perilous and bygone era.”
“Since the 1980’s the Wharf has been owned and operated by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. Wharf condition survey reports from 2002 and 2005 conclude that the Wharf is at the end of its serviceable life and that it requires demolition or significant repairs to ensure public safety. Presently, the Wharf is fenced and inaccessible to the public.” [source: Vancouver Park Board via Stephen Rees]
Over the last few years there have been many discussions about the wharf, its historic significance, and what should ultimately be done about the structure.
The Jericho Sailing Centre Association (“JSCA”) said the majority of the wharf was properly demolished in 1978 and the resulting natural beach you can see on one side of the site today. According to The Vancouver Sun, public consultations in 2008 revealed that residents wanted the wharf removed and the beach restored. The JSCA also said it posed a hazard to sailors, and the DFO warned of environmental damage caused by its old pilings.
In 2010, after public consultations and open houses, the Vancouver Park Board voted unanimously to have the wharf removed for “public safety and ecological restoration”. This month, they entered into a contract to officially get the job done. The cost of the wharf’s removal and the restoration of the beach will be about $3 million.