Vancouver sea wall damaged by high tides and winds hits south coast of British Columbia

Vancouver’s Stanley Park seawall was damaged and closed to the public after high tides and extreme winds hit British Columbia’s south coast on Friday.

The seawall will remain closed between Sunset Beach and Lions Gate Bridge, with staff focusing on cleaning up the debris, the Vancouver Park Board said in a statement. This one and the park were closed to the public earlier in the day due to the dangers.

The District of West Vancouver also closed its promenade and Ambleside Park, which was partially inundated due to extremely wet conditions.

English Bay Beach in Vancouver’s West End was also inundated, with waves over three feet high crashing into the shore. At Jericho Beach on the West Side of Vancouver, the pier was partially destroyed Thursday, leaving lumber haphazardly piled on the sand.

The town of Qualicum Beach, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, also issued a statement calling its waterfront “dangerous,” saying its sea wall had been partially damaged and asking the public to avoid the area.

A large wave hit the sea wall at English Bay in Vancouver on Friday. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

Angela Danyluk, Senior Sustainability Specialist at the City of Vancouver, said the “royal tide” occurred around 10 a.m. local time on Friday, accompanied by a storm surge and strong westerly winds with gusts of up to 50 kilometers per hour.

Danyluk said royal tides – a colloquial term for highest tides – can occur throughout the year, but are more likely to occur in December, January, and February because the land, moon, and the sun are perfectly aligned to strengthen their gravitational pull.

Waves crash over Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver. (SRC)

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

“Jericho Pier looked more like a debris trap today than a real jetty from which you can fish.”

All day Friday, BC Hydro scrambled to restore power to thousands of customers left in the dark by the powerful winds. Over 20,000 customers woke up Friday morning night, mostly in the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.

Waves crash into the sea wall at English Bay on Friday. (Ben Nelms / CBC)

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