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West End waterfront plan approved by Vancouver Park Board

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The Vancouver Park Board approved a 30-year plan to transform the city's West End waterfront Monday night, but not without some opposition.

The "Imagine West End Waterfront" plan, which will now be sent to council after passing 4-2 at the Park Board, is for a 95-acre stretch from English Bay to the Burrard Street Bridge. The concept includes transforming the waterfront to help combat rising sea levels as part of a proposed revitalization project.

Part of rethinking those spaces includes increasing biodiversity along the waterfront, as well as creating a pair of human-made islands offshore from the base of Chilco Street, which are said to address wave-induced flooding.

The plan will also return two lanes of car traffic on Beach Avenue, where cyclists currently have a separated bike lane.

Several people showed up at Monday's meeting to address the plan, including a former park board commissioner who said the lack of outreach to inform the public of the upcoming changes concerned her.

"I wanted to speak for all the people of Vancouver who had no idea this was coming forward," Trisha Barker said during Monday night's meeting. "For the last week I have talked to tons of people. Three people knew this vote was happening tonight. They had no idea that such a huge plan was coming for a vote and that they wouldn't have the opportunity to come like a few of us."

Barker called for the park board to defer at least part the plan until more public consultation could happen.

Teri Smith, the executive director of the West End Business Improvement Association called the project an exciting opportunity, but agreed there needs to be greater community consultation.

"The devil is always in the details," Smith told CTV News Vancouver before the vote. "There's a lot of concerns around this being a 30-year plan and the funding that isn't quite in place yet."

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Isabella Zavarise 

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