Over the past year I have been updating Viewpoint Vancouver readers on the continuing intransigence of the Marine Drive Golf Club that has chosen to simply ignore requests by the city and public to complete the Fraser River Trail along the foreshore of the golf course. While McCleery and Point Grey Golf Clubs have willingly allowed foreshore access to create this vital greenway link along the Fraser River from Oak Street west through to Southlands, the Marine Drive Golf Club is the one holdout.
You can walk along the Fraser River Trail west of the Marine Drive Golf Course and it looks like this:
Then you get to the section that is controlled by the Marine Drive Golf Club and it looks like this:
The Marine Drive Golf Club appears to have a history of exclusion, banning women members from using parts of the club house from 2004 to 2008. Court records indicate that male members intimidated female members who wanted to use that space. After women members won a court decision to have access to all parts of the Marine Drive Golf Club, the men in the club went to the British Columbia Court of Appeal to have that decision on equity overturned. The men won.
Retired engineer/planner David Grigg will not be deterred in trying to complete the Fraser River Trail, which has been sought after by the Southlands Community for nearly thirty years. Mr. Grigg tried for months to contact the Marine Drive Golf Club to “gauge their current interest in establishing the trail along the Fraser River fronting the golf course.” He received no response, other than to be told that the club did not talk to individual members of the public, but would only communicate through a Civic governmental request.
That was probably the best advice the Marine Drive Golf Club could have given.
Mr. Grigg went straight to Vancouver City Hall and Councillor Michael Wiebe’s motion was passed last week in Council. This Council motion directs staff to report back on creating the “Fraser River Inter-Governmental Working Group” to develop a Fraser River Management Plan and complete the North Arm of the Fraser River Trail and the community connections. Most importantly the Musqueam First Nation has supported the motion and emphasized the importance of this pathway between their reserve and traditional Cesnam,near the foot of the Oak Street Bridge which was the main winter village.
The Fraser River Trail travels along the traditional territory of the Musqueam people who have lived in harmony with the river for millennia. The trail itself could be a major part of the Reconciliation process acknowledging the land, culture, language and traditions of the First Nations.
You can read the text of Councillor’s Wiebe’s motion here.
The inter-governmental working group will include representatives from the Musqueam First Nation, Port of Vancouver, Vancouver Park Board, Ministry of Forests and Lands, Ministry of Resources and Rural Development, CP Rail, Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, Translink, and community experts.
Fraser River Trail completion advocates that include the Musqueam First Nation, Mr. Grigg, and ex Premiers Mike Harcourt and Ujall Dosanjh now will have a formal recognized Civic working group for the Marine Drive Golf Club to properly respond.
You can imagine that if City Councillors are able to assist in completing this important link, they will be happily remembered at election time in the Fall of 2022.