JSCA’s Comment on the Port of Vancouver’s Proposed Amendment to the Marine Restricted Area

1300 Discovery Street
Vancouver, BC V6R 4L9
Email: info@jsca.bc.ca  website: www.jsca.bc.ca

October 5, 2017
Sean Baxter, Marine Operations Specialist
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
100 The Pointe, 999 Canada Place
Vancouver, British Columbia
V6C 3T4

Ahoy Sean:

I am writing to comment on the Port of Vancouver’s proposed configuration of the Marine Restricted Area MRA-1 in the vicinity of the First Narrows. While the need to safeguard efficient ship passage through the First Narrows to and from Vancouver’s Inner Harbour is clearly fathomable, it can and should be done without restricting the adjacent Stanley Park shoreline from marine recreational access.

The Jericho Sailing Centre Association, is a non-profit, volunteer driven organization dedicated to providing safe, low cost, recreational ocean access for small, naturally powered craft to the people of Vancouver through the Jericho Sailing Centre. An important component of achieving our primary objective is educating recreational mariners about how the Port operates: when and how ships move, rights of way, understanding how the major shipping lane works and how to navigate safely in harmony with commercial vessels. Our English Bay Safety Seminar is free to the public and has been for 30 years.

As the General Manager of the JSCA and a primary instructor of our volunteer Jericho Rescue Team program I have been in the proposed MRA adjacent to Stanley Park on our rescue boats many times over the past 30 years training, escorting paddling events, rescuing people in distress and assisting Vancouver Beach Lifeguards. Shallow and rocky, this area is extremely treacherous for any propeller driven vessel and is barely navigable to all but paddle or oar powered craft. It is completely useless water space for the commercial vessels facilitated by the Port but a unique treasure for the people of Vancouver who recreate in human powered boats. It is the marine extension of Stanley Park, people space, not Port space. A place for floating over the intertidal zone observing sea creatures and connecting with the sea. The area you are proposing to restrict is the realm of the paddle, it has been for thousands of years, and will continue to be for that long into the future.

Respecting Port traffic operations is the responsibility of every recreational skipper who operates a water craft in the Vancouver area. Respecting recreational watercraft users right to access this popular, commercially unnavigable area of the Stanley Park shoreline is the Port of Vancouver’s responsibility.

On behalf of Vancouver’s marine recreational users Iencourage the Port of Vancouver to work  together with our community, to draw better boundary lines for the MRA-1 approach to the First Narrows which addresses any concerns the Port has, while respecting the use of this important, distinctively Vancouver, marine recreational park area.

Fair winds,

Mike Cotter,

General Manager
Jericho Sailing Centre Association