Earlier this week Viewpoint Vancouver reminded residents why you cannot traverse the entire Fraser River Trail Greenway despite the fact that this citywide greenway was approved over three decades ago. The Marine Drive Golf Club has fenced off the foreshore on the Fraser River to the south of their property, despite the fact that both McCleery Golf Course and the Point Grey Golf Club have willingly allowed access.
On June 8 of 2021 City of Vancouver Councillor Michael Wiebe put forward a motion that was passed that recognized the importance of the completion of this city greenway and how valued it is to First Nations reconciliation. The motion called “Reconnecting to the Sto:lo (Fraser River) outlines the importance of finishing the Fraser River Trail and references the Fraser River and Burrard Inlet Waterfront Policy requiring shoreline protection and a 7 meter public access walkway along the river.
The Council endorsed direction asks staff to report back on the creation of an inter governmental working group “to develop a Fraser River Co-management Plan to put reconciliation in action, coordinate the numerous existing plans, complete the North Arm extension of the Experience the Fraser Trail, improve north-south community connections, and improve the overall stewardship & ecological health of the Fraser River (Sto:lo) for generations to come”
The direction also requests inclusion of “The xʷməθkʷəy̓ əm Musqeuem Indian Band, The Port of Vancouver, The Vancouver Park Board, Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, CP Rail, Metro Vancouver Regional Parks, TransLink, and community experts.”
There’s one record of senior staff meeting with the Marine Drive Golf Club after this motion, but nothing to indicate that the intergovernmental working group has been formed, nearly ten months later.
Planner and retired engineer David Grigg is a member of the public that has been championing greenways in the region and on the Fraser River and he sends this note to Viewpoint Vancouver that is positive for the completion of this vital link.
“I would like to share a message of hope. Last year Vancouver Councillor Michael Wiebe convened an on line meeting that included Parks staff and most importantly a senior Musqueam representative. An outcome was that he proposed a motion to council that staff prepare a plan for moving forward. He then followed up with an update on progress last Autumn. Councillor Wiebe mentioned that discussions had taken place between the city and the golf club. He was hopeful.”
It’s time to properly centre the completion and interpretation of the Fraser River Greenway into the ancestral knowledge and placemaking of the First Nations. It’s also time to recognize the importance of Celtic Island’s Japanese community and existing ship building industry, locked away from the public view and slated for large estate development.
This is about reconciliation, access and interpretation of one of the most important resources in the region, the Fraser River. Every citizen has a right to the completion of this greenway to learn from and to experience this working river.