VANCOUVER — A timeline has finally been announced for the removal of a huge barge that wedged itself onto a beach in Vancouver’s English Bay last November. 

A statement from the City of Vancouver says a local pile driving firm will set up fences and barricades around the barge this week.

Temporary piles will then be drilled into the Sunset Beach shoreline to secure the barge and, once that work is complete, deconstruction will begin.

The city estimates removal of sections of the barge’s walls and hull should take 12 to 15 weeks.

The statement says industry experts, partners and First Nation groups have been consulted, and hazardous material, archeological and structural assessments will ensure protection of sensitive marine habitat.

The empty barge broke from its moorings during a storm last November and briefly forced closure of the Burrard bridge as it swept toward the mouth of False Creek, threatening the bridge footings, but instead it grounded high on the beach.

It has become a minor celebrity since then, tipped slightly toward the water, just metres from the city’s busy seawall.

It even earned its own city-approved sign naming the area as Barge Chilling Beach, a cheeky reference to a sign that won official public art status in 2012 when it was set up as a prank by a local artist, renaming an east Vancouver park as Dude Chilling Park.

The Barge Chilling Beach sign has since been removed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.

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