WBPS History

Judy Williams © 2005

The Wreck Beach Preservation Society (WBPS) began January 25, 1977, with the assault on Wreck Beach by authorities without public input. This assault by bulldozers and massive dredges, catapulted the beach to fame when beach users formed a small group called Citizens Concerned for Coward's Cove, which then changed to the Wreck Beach Committee, which again evolved into the Wreck Beach Preservation Society in 1983.

Over the years this ad hoc group of citizens have fought numerous attempts by conservative University of British Columbia (UBC) administrations to pave, bury, or destroy the beach and cliffs under the guise of erosion control. Although the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) took over stewardship from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in 1989, UBC began lobbying and is still trying to pressure the GVRD to be a good neighbor and protect UBC buildings too near the cliffs' edge through massive erosion-control works.

It appears 1998 will be the year these works or strategies for initiating and implementing these works--with public input--will mark the beginning of combined efforts. A massive slide on September 25, 1997 behind the Cecil Green Mansion Coach House, a heritage UBC building, has accelerated the emergency work which will be necessary behind the building. The WBPS believes the building should be moved, and perhaps bioengineering done just immediately below the site until a comprehensive plan involving Wreck Beach users can be proposed between Northwest Marine drive cliffs and those at the Trail 4 section of Wreck Beach. Authorities would have the public believe that Wreck Beach is only that beach at the base of Trail 6, but the WBPS has--for years--adamantly stated our mandate which is: To preserve the Wreck Beach area, including foreshore and cliffs, in as nearly a natural state as possible from Spanish Banks West to the Musqueam Reserve!

Our solidarity over the years has stopped marinas; a 20-million cubic meter dredging operation behind the North Arm breakwater; an horrendous parallel trail from Trail 6 to Trail 7 (One was already built there quietly by two very dedicated users); a proposal to barge millions of gallons of jet-fuel A past Wreck Beach weekly; toe-to-cliff-top condominiums; a 20-foot high, 10-foot wide sea wall over the beach it would supposedly have been meant to protect; viewing platforms which would have changed the interpretation of the Canadian Criminal Code insofar as nudity was concerned; the cutting of 40-acres of cliff face forest and then, the shaving of the cliffs in those 40-acres, and the construction of an RCMP service road to and along the beach. Current threats to the beach area include a restaurant overlooking the beach, the elimination of all curb-side parking, the grassing in of Marine Drive , and possible washrooms on the beach level instead of above and out of sight of the beach.

Our Society operates on donations. We provide a liaison between beach users and authorities from the GVRD to the RCMP. We publish and distribute thousands of "Welcome to Wreck Beach" brochures and summer newsletters which update people as to the latest developments concerning Wreck Beach. After the death of one of our beloved Beach regulars, comedian Paddy White, we began a traditional Wreck Beach Bare Buns Fun Run / Walk in June 1997. Our second Fun Run will be held on International Nude Weekend, specifically, July 11. Wreck Beach Day, which is normally held the second Saturday of July, has been moved to August 8 so that we will have low tides to accommodate our 15th annual sandcastle event. We also hold a nude art show, a nude bocci ball event, a nude kite-flying event, and a nude sand croquet tournament that day!

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