Vancouver approves $300M Stanley Park Water Supply Tunnel project

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water supply tunnel
A 1.4-kilometre tunnel will be dug through bedrock more than 30 metres beneath the surface of the park’s Lost Lagoon body of water to the west of the Stanley Park causeway.  Photo Credit: City of Vancouver

Construction is expected to begin late next year on the $300-million Stanley Park Water Supply Tunnel project in Vancouver.

The project received approval from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation in late July to proceed with the replacement of an existing watermain built in the 1930s and nearing the end of its service life. 

Conceptual design for the replacement began in 2016 after the water line sprung a major leak. Local officials say that more leaks would occur without a replacement.

The project will include the installation of three tunnel shafts over five years, as well as chambers that will house underground pipes and valves to control the flow of the water supply.

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A 1.4-kilometre tunnel will be dug through bedrock more than 30 metres beneath the surface of the park’s Lost Lagoon body of water to the west of the Stanley Park causeway. Inside the tunnel, the new Capilano Main No. 5 will bring water from the Capilano Reservoir to Vancouver residents.

“When complete, the new tunnel will meet current seismic standards, help ensure the continued reliable delivery of clean, safe drinking water to the region, and increase the capacity of the existing system for the region’s growing population,” the City of Vancouver stated in a project announcement.

Engineering firm Mott MacDonald has been linked to the Stanley Park Water Supply Tunnel project and engineer Chad Langford has written about some aspects of the planned replacement. 

“After picking the preferred alignment, our team investigated sites in Stanley Park, mapped outcrops, drilled boreholes, and applied marine geophysics,” Langford wrote in a company blog post.

Open houses are expected to begin in the fall to address residents’ concerns about this major construction project and any potential disruptions to the use of the park and impacts on the environment.

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