Campaign by the Vancouver Rowing Club – Summer 2019

Stanley Park is Losing Public Waterways To Expansion for Luxury Yachts

The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club is working to appropriate a public waterway to subsidize their needs for renovations. New berths for yachts will be sold for up to $150,000 each.*

The Vancouver Rowing Club strongly opposes the Yacht Club’s proposed expansion and is mounting a public campaign to fight it.  Learn more below.

The Yacht Club’s motivations are simple: their docks are old, they need to upgrade them, and it appears they would rather appropriate public space to raise funds than pass along the true cost of moorage to yacht owners!

Banner image of VRC clubhouse

How Does the Expansion Affect Public Interest?

  • Big yachts pollute and are generally inaccessible to the public, whereas rowing is a sport contributing to the health of Vancouverites and the enjoyment of Stanley Park Waters by young and old in a non-polluting, non-motorized way
  • This is the commercialization of Stanley Park waterways, something nobody wants
  • Vancouver is already an unaffordable city that is losing public space… and now we are losing public waterways too
  • The expansion plan was conceived and submitted without adequate consultation with neighboring entities such as the Vancouver Rowing Club
  • Rowing in Vancouver’s public waters is supported by City Council through the Vancouver Sport Strategy for Rowing, as well as the Park Board’s recently-passed On Water, Vancouver’s Non-motorized Watercraft Recreation Strategy.
  • This will narrow an already-busy public waterway, making it dangerous for all users of these waters. It may ultimately lead to the demise of the Vancouver Rowing Club that has been here since 1886.

Here’s How You Can Help

  1. Watch the video to learn about the issue
  2. Share the video by Facebook, Twitter, and Email
  3. Make your voice heard!  Help the Vancouver Rowing Club oppose this expansion by writing a letter and sending it to [email protected].  This email address is maintained by the Vancouver Rowing Club and all letters received will be forwarded to the Port of Vancouver, who will be the decision-maker on this issue.  If you do not want your letter to be received by the Vancouver Rowing Club, you can write to the Port of Vancouver directly.
  4. Sign our Petition! And consider sharing it on social media as well.
  5. Do you know a stakeholder who will be negatively impacted by this expansion?  Have them get in touch with us!
  6. Or can you help with the campaign through expertise, time, or donations? We are looking for help. Get in touch with the Vancouver Rowing Club’s Coal Harbour Preservation Committee at [email protected]

Watch the Video to Learn More

(Don’t forget to turn on the sound!)

Save Stanley Park Waters Campaign Video: 6 min

Stanley Park's historic waterways are under threat by a Yacht Club expansion plan that would take over *public space* to add 47 more luxury yachts in Coal Harbour. The impacts? The narrowing of an already crowded waterway, more blind spots, and an unsafe marine environment that could end 130 years of rowing in Vancouver. The Vancouver Rowing Club strongly opposes this expansion plan and is mounting a public campaign to fight it… but we need help. Learn more and see how you can help stop the Yacht Club’s expansion at: #savestanleyparkwaters

Posted by Vancouver Rowing Club on Monday, August 5, 2019
If the above video does not play for you, you can view it on youtube

Ending Over 130 Years of Rowing History?

Both Rowing Canada and Rowing BC have reviewed the expansion plans and confirmed in writing that the safety concerns raised in the proposal will, effectively end rowing at the Vancouver Rowing Club that has been here since 1886.

The expansion plan greatly reduces the width of the public waterway, and will add new blind spots, making it unsafe for rowers. On a busy day there are up to 20 rowing boats with about 60 people on the water at any one time, as well as yachts, harbour cruises, and other boats. Safety in these busy public waters is paramount.

The argument presented by the Yacht Club suggesting that rowers can row in invisible 13.5m lanes on a crowded waterway is simply crazy or uninformed at best.

About the Vancouver Rowing Club

The Vancouver Rowing Club is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization with a mandate of promoting amateur sport in the community. In addition to rowing, the Vancouver Rowing Club has programs for Field Hockey, Rugby, and Yachting (separate and distinct from the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club).

There are hundreds of active rowers who are on water an estimated 28,000 times per year.  Membership across all sports is about 1,100.

Contribution to Community

The RVYC expansion plan will greatly hinder the future prospects of the Vancouver Rowing Club that includes:

  • Learn-To-Row programs for both adults and juniors, including local high-school students – approximately 300 per year
  • Junior, Novice, and Competitive rowing
  • Masters, Recreational, and Novice adult rowing
  • Viability of the club overall if rowing disappears

Rowing is an Inclusive Sport

  • Rowing is an affordable and accessible sport for people of all ages.  The Vancouver Rowing Club goes out of its way to ensure that financial means are not a barrier to promising new rowers.
  • Rowing is an active sport that people of all ages can do. The Vancouver Rowing Club currently has members between the ages of 13 to 90.
  • The Vancouver Rowing Club is unique in that many of its members walk, bike, or bus to training. This accessibility is especially important for young rowers.

Representing Canada on the World Stage

We continue to celebrate our club’s past impressive national and international successes which have placed VRC athletes on Canada’s Olympic, Pan American and Commonwealth Games’ teams.

Our club continues to support Junior rowers aspirations. Recently our very own Sophie Byrne-Atkins was selected for the CanAmMex competition.

Regardless of skill, the sense of community among all our members is strong. The Vancouver Rowing Club has been a long-standing site of the city’s sporting and social history, and remains an attraction to visitors of Stanley Park that highlights the importance of supporting heritage sights.

The Vancouver Rowing Club has been in existence in Coal Harbour since 1886 – the same year that Vancouver became a city!

Related Documents

Rowing Canada letter

Rowing BC letter

Royal Vancouver Yacht Club’s plans

*This is the opinion of Vancouver Rowing Club based on RVYC correspondence to its members (which can be viewed in the video linked to this webpage).