As I write this, there are plans underway to free the barge that washed ashore at Sunset Beach yesterday. Since being stuck in a rocky prison on the beach there, it has inspired a parody Twitter account and endless social media posts.
I say we keep it where it is, permanently. And I have a number of reasons why.
1. It's infinitely better than the McBarge
I recently wrote that the McBarge belongs on the bottom of the ocean, partly because it's derelict and is a reminder of many broken promises. The English Bay barge offers a new hope. It's a fresh addition to our shoreline with zero baggage, and endless potential.
2. It will attract tourists
When we get into a post-COVID world we're going to need new and exciting attractions to draw people back to our city. This thing has made national news, who wouldn't want to see it in person?
3. It will help the environment
Projects have been underway for a decade that aim to bring herring back to spawn in False Creek. These fish “see a nice clean surface and they spawn on it,” said one streamkeeper, regarding how they essentially just need more surfaces to lay their eggs on around here. The English Bay barge is fresh, clean, and ready for spawners.
4. It gives us something to talk about besides the price of real estate
When you walk past this thing everything just fades away. You stare up at it like "Dude, that's crazy. That thing is so big."
At least two per cent of the conversations you have with your friends after seeing the barge will not be about the housing crisis and its negative effect on you, or the obscene amount of money you made by selling your real estate. Your friends don't want to hear about either of those things, and the barge can help drown them out.
5. It's a brilliant piece of public art
More visually appealing than a large portion of the public art in this city (sorry Main Street Poodle), it's essentially free art, no paid for by taxpayers or developer Community Amenity Contributions. We'll just tell its owners it's now a part of the city - sorry about that.
6. It could be re-purposed for the greater good
Why not keep it where it is and turn it into much-needed housing? Or maybe an indoor velodrome, or a nightclub for anti-vaxxers, where they can gather without us having to worry about bumping into them? The possibilities are endless.
Our city is - and will be - much better for having this thing around. Let's keep it.