The barge that has been stranded on Vancouver’s Sunset Beach since it ran aground in November’s severe storm will, according to its owner, be broken to pieces for removal.
The barge broke loose from its mooring amid intense winds on November 15, part of the same storm that destroyed BC highways and flooded communities in the Fraser Valley and the southern interior.
The barge plunges into Vancouver’s seawall, while the precipitation permeates the southern BC
Sentry Marine Towing says it is still awaiting permits and approval from several entities, including the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board, WorkSafeBC and local First Nations, but hopes to begin work within the next 30 days.
The company said a construction crew will then begin cutting the barge into smaller pieces, which will be slowly loaded out to sea on a flat barge.
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That work can take between 45 and 60 days.
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The decision to break the barge down was based on risk, the company said. The cost of floating it again or cutting it up was about the same, but an attempt to float again carries the risk that the barge may sink.
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The company says it has taken comprehensive precautions to protect against environmental damage, including assessments with environmental consultants, testing the paint on the barge for toxicity and implementing plans to contain dust, dirt or spills during work.
The area around the barge will be fenced in during the work, it said.
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Global News has requested a comment from the City of Vancouver.
Since it ran aground, the barge has become a popular destination for both locals and tourists and a hotspot for selfies.
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Last month, the Vancouver Park Board removed a cheeky, temporary sign designating “Barge Chilling Beach,” a nod to the city’s second iconic parody “Dude Chilling Park” sign in Mount Pleasants Guelph Park.
The sign was repeatedly tarnished with the beach’s name in the Squamish language, “Í7iy̓el̓shn,” and some native proponents said the rate at which the parody sign went up underscored how slow Vancouver has been in adding original names to townships.
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