Facing fall weather into week 8

September 26, 2022

We’re now into our third month of barge deconstruction. Last week we completed a major milestone, removing the final pieces of the forward rake. Deconstruction is on track and crews have moved on to the aft section of the barge to remove the stern rake. We began preparations for this last week while we waited for the tides to be in our favour at the forward section. Preparations included cutting holes in the deck for ventilation to allow our crews to safely work inside.

This week we hope to remove the deck sections at the stern of the barge and begin preparations to remove the larger piece, similar to what we did on the bow. The stern removal will differ from the bow as it won’t require the additional scaffolding that we installed on the front. The skegs, the two legs sticking out in the back, will support the stern during the deconstruction.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been very fortunate with the weather with calm water and blue skies. We had a few days of wind, shifting our operations, but otherwise the weather has cooperated. Over the next few weeks as fall moves in, we anticipate the weather playing a larger role. Safety for the crew is our number one goal which means weather may result in minor delays or a shift in schedule to accommodate our team. Despite dropping temperatures, here’s hoping for continued sunshine! 

Hitting Milestones in Week 7 of Deconstruction

September 19, 2022

During week seven of deconstruction, the crew has continued work on the forward rig section of the barge. We’re in the final stages of removing the internal structural steel members and then we’ll remove the side shell and bottom plate sections.

This is an important milestone for the project as from this point on, the entire forward section of will be completely removed. This means we’ll be able to remove the scaffolding that was required to support the structural integrity of the barge. Following the removal of the forward rake section, this scaffolding will be completely demobilized. Next, we will move on to the stern to remove back sections.

Once we complete the forward rake section, we’ll move on to the rear of the barge for removal of the half section, and the skegs. This will be another important milestone for the project as once these two sections are complete, we’ll only have the mid body of the barge left to deconstruct.
We’re pleased with the progress of the deconstruction as head into fall. The temperature on the water is getting cooler and we’ve had some smoky skies overhead so can feeling those seasons changing! 


September 12, 2022

Last week we successfully removed the forward most section of the barge, called the head log. This week we’re continuing work on the aft rake of the barge, opening up the deck and removing the side shell sections.

Last week we installed a set of stairs inside the hull. This gives us flexibility to work on the forward rig section. These stairs make it easier to move around the barge, allowing for safe access for our crews. Safe access to the barge has been a huge focus throughout planning and deconstruction. One of the VanPile motto’s is Driven By Safety – To Be The Best; safety is always on our minds.

Next week we’ll continue to work on the forward rake moving towards the mid body of the barge.  Forward scaffolding will be demobilized shortly as we continue deconstruction from the bow to the stern of the barge.

You may have noticed, the external appearance of the barge hasn’t changed much the last few weeks as we’ve worked inside to remove the headlog. As work progresses, you’ll notice the outsides coming down and the look of the iconic barge changing! Work is on schedule despite some high winds and we’re continuing to watch the tides to ensure we’re working as safely and efficiently as possible.  

Environmental Considerations through Planning and Deconstruction with Hatfield

September 5, 2022

Careful consideration on how best to remove the barge while protecting the sensitive marine environment, ecology, and people around it has been a priority throughout the deconstruction process. This includes surveying the adjacent marine habitat, obtaining necessary environmental permits and consulting with indigenous groups, and on-site environmental monitoring throughout removal activities.

Environmental monitors from Hatfield and local indigenous groups are on site full time to keep a close eye on water quality, debris containment, and underwater noise, known as hydroacoustics. They work to implement mitigations including spill prevention, waste management and fish and wildlife protection.

Some of the notable mitigations are that work predominantly occurs from the water or the barge itself to minimize the need for working on the beach. We’ve left the lower portions of the bin walls intact which improves worker safety and allows for containment of demolition debris and stormwater which could pickup fine sediments from the barge deck. We are also constantly surveying the beach for debris and using a magnetic sweeper.

Following barge removal, Hatfield will survey the surrounding marine and intertidal habitat to confirm that it has not been impacted and inform any remedial works should they be required.

Thanks, Francine, for your expertise and support as we care for the environment throughout barge deconstruction.  


August 29, 2022

Week five brought us some great low tides and some incredible summer days. The concrete deck removal is now complete, and we’ve moved onto the forward bow. This step is critical to opening the barge up so crews can get to work inside. The scaffolding around the perimeter and shoreside are also now complete so crews can safely access the barge in its new stage.

The next big milestone we’re looking ahead to is deconstructing the forward rake. This next section will depend again on tides so we’re watching the water’s activity closely. Overall things are going well. The crew is keeping cool in the heat we’ve been having and making great progress. Deconstruction is well underway!


August 15, 2022

The sun has been shining on our crew as we work away on the 3 million pound barge. So far, we’ve got the demolition shear onboard and are snipping at the walls which will continue into next week. Next, we’ll begin to remove the concrete deck structure which completes our first stage of work. The second stage begins with the demolition of the hull which will require scaffolders on-site.

Getting started!

August 1, 2022

Ian Purvis, Project Manager at VanPile for the Barge Deconstruction project is pleased to be getting started. There has been a lot of preparation over the past months to determine the best process for removing the barge. This has included obtaining regulatory permits, consulting with local Indigenous communities, working with the City of Vancouver and other partners, conducting the required engineering and environmental assessments in addition to mobilizing equipment and personnel. Now that the piles are in place, Ian is looking forward to getting that excavator on site next week! Check here for updates from Ian and the rest of the team as deconstruction progresses. 


July 25, 2022

Site preparation and safety barriers are in place and we’re onto next steps. The barge deconstruction process begins this week with the installation of temporary piles to support the marine work and the removal of loose wood chips and debris on the barge deck. The work will be pausing for the long weekend, with the main deconstruction work starting the week of August 2 when a demolition excavator will be lifted onto the barge to remove the bin walls.

The full process to deconstruct and remove the barge from English Bay will take 12-15 weeks. The seawall will remain open during deconstruction and there will be no impacts to traffic or parking in the area and minimal impact to park activities. Check back again for updates, progress, and anticipated timelines.

deconstruction and removal set to begin

June 29, 2022

This week, we begin the much-anticipated process of removing the barge, starting with the installation of safety barriers and fences.

The next stage of work will include additional site preparation and the installation of temporary piles to secure the barge. Once completed, deconstruction of the barge will begin, which includes the removal of the barge walls and hulls in sections. All material will be loaded onto support barges and hauled away by sea to a staging area to be processed and recycled.

The work will have minimal impact to park activities and is expected to take approximately 12-15 weeks to complete once deconstruction has begun. The seawall will remain open during this time and there will be no impacts to traffic or parking in the area.

During this process residents and visitors can expect:

  • Work hours will typically be Monday to Friday, 7:30 am – 5:30 pm.
  • Periods of noise are expected.
  • All work will comply with City of Vancouver noise by-laws and will be monitored.

The barge removal has been carefully planned in consultation with industry experts, partners and First Nation groups. Hazardous material, archeological and structural assessments have been completed to ensure the sensitive marine environment is protected.

Looking forward to getting started!

Thanks for your patience

May 19, 2022

Thank you for your patience as we continue planning the deconstruction and removal of the barge from English Bay. Deconstructing the barge is complex due to the location and condition of the vessel. Removal is being carefully planned and includes consultation with industry experts and partners including the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

Throughout the planning, deconstruction and removal process, we are committed to proactive measures to ensure there are no negative environmental impacts and minimal impact on park activities. At this time, we can confirm the seawall will remain open during deconstruction.

We are working with our partners and hope to have a deconstruction start date to share soon. Thank you for your ongoing patience.


Feb 17, 2022

Since it landed near Sunset Beach, the barge has been a popular attraction and the subject of international media attention. We understand there is public interest in this project and we are happy to provide updates as they’re available. We appreciate your patience!