A Vancouver rowing club and yacht club are once again fighting over space on the city's waterfront, with one group saying the area's more precious than ever during the pandemic.
The Vancouver Rowing Club and the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club have disputed the area by Coal Harbour for months, with the yacht club hoping to expand by 40 metres into the channel.
But the rowing club says that would leave them with limited space, posing a safety risk that's especially dire during the pandemic when people should be spread out.
"The proposal includes taking up about 30 per cent more of the waterway, so there would be a narrowing of the channel," said Betsy Segal, who is a member of the rowing club.
"The traffic isn't controlled. There's no buoys to keep people in their lanes."
The issue was first brought up last year, when the yacht club said it was in need of repairs and upgrades. At the time, the club submitted an application for the expansion to the Port of Vancouver.
"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for expansion to meet the needs of our members while putting a fresh new face on our high-profile asset," the yacht club said in a notice to its members last June.
"Renewal of aging, unsightly and environmentally substandard infrastructure will be in place including new potable and separate fire protection water lines and power supply. These are mandatory upgrades."
In the fall, Vancouver's mayor wrote a letter to the Port of Vancouver, saying council supported the rowing club's concerns about the yacht club's expansion that it would "have a negative impact on its rowing programs by increasing the number of large motorized boats in the waterway."
"We hope you keep in mind the importance of maintaining the safety and enjoyment of people in non-motorized watercraft who have a long tradition of using the waterway for rowing," Mayor Kennedy Stewart's letter says.
After facing delays, a public consultation survey closes Tuesday.