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'Barge Chilling Beach' sign erected as vessel remains resting on Vancouver shoreline

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One month after a wayward barge crashed onto Vancouver's shoreline, the city's park board has marked the vessel's unexpectedly long stay with a tongue-in-cheek sign.

The "Barge Chilling Beach" sign – a reference to the famous Dude Chilling Park sign in East Vancouver – was unveiled Wednesday morning at Sunset Beach, not far from the grounded vessel.

"Our little holiday gift to you, Vancouver," the park board wrote on Twitter. "No matter what storms life may send our way, we'll always be here for you. Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday and a prosperous 2022!"

Board chair Stewart Mackinnon said the temporary sign was intended to bring some levity to a year full of serious and sometimes upsetting events, both locally and globally.

"Sometimes, for some folks, it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel," Mackinnon said. "If we can add a little bit of joy and fun to their lives, I think that's money well spent."

How long the sign remains at the beach will depend on how long the barge remains on the rocks.

Last week, the city said work was underway to assess and repair damage to the vessel so it could be towed away, and that the owner had submitted a recovery plan to Transport Canada, the Vancouver Port Authority, and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Transport Canada told CTV News on Wednesday that timing of the removal still hasn't been confirmed.

"We continue to work with the owner’s representative, and other agencies, to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to effect the recovery of the barge, while keeping the public and environment safety paramount," a spokesperson said in an email.

Officials have repeatedly noted that the vessel's owner, Sentry Marine Towing, is solely responsible for its removal.

The park board has not revealed how much the Barge Chilling Beach sign cost, but previously estimated the cost of replacing the Dude Chilling Park sign at $1,300.

That sign was originally installed at Guelph Park without the city's approval back in 2012, as a nod to a large public art installation depicting a figure reclining in the grass.

The park board voted to give the sign a permanent home in 2014, and has paid to replace it multiple times after it was stolen.

Mackinnon said commissioners "really hope" someone doesn't attempt to make off with the Barge Chilling Beach sign as well.

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