It looks like the English Bay Barge won’t see June.
May 22 is the tentative date for the start of its demolition according to Clearview Demolition project manager Richard Thomson. There are still a few environmental checkpoints to clear that could delay things, but the company plans to start more than six months after the iconic barge arrives.
Clearview will take care of the upper parts of the barge, the large red walls that would have held the wood chips on board. To reduce it, they plan to lower an excavator on board with a specialized cutting tool.
“There’s going to be a veil over it,” Thomson says. “Imagine a really big pair of scissors cutting through metal.”
They will tear down the walls until there is about four feet left, like a railing. Another company will take care of removing the bridge from the beach.
With a project of this size, he expects it to be crowded, but that’s something wrecking crews are used to.
“We’re being filmed and people are parking their kids at the fence just to watch it. It’s interesting,” he says. “It happens all the time.”
As for his own feelings on the houseboat, he enjoyed his story.
“I enjoyed all the fun stuff and everything that’s going on is a good thing, but it’s also not supposed to be there,” he notes. “It’s a problem for the beach. I like it, I think it was fun but I also think it has to be okay.”
Clearview has been studying its part of the project for about two months, Thomson says, and is studying how to prepare for deconstruction in a marine environment. This includes environmental and safety measures – things like changing the oil in their equipment. Working on the ocean also means more security measures.
While a unique project in some ways, the barge isn’t completely new territory for Clearview; they recently dismantled Ballantyne Pier at the Port of Vancouver.
Thomson hopes to see a piece of the barge return with the crew to their office in Chilliwack. There they have a room with items from other places that they demolished.
“All the walls in this one are lined with old neon signs from bars,” he says.
For those who want their own piece of the barge, there will also be a way to do so.