Friday, June 23, 2023

Waterfront Access Question to Port officials provides glimpse into what may be path forward for Prince Rupert recreation opportunities

Last week's Annual Public Meeting for the Prince Rupert Port Authority featured some feedback from community on a range of themes, from Des Nobels raising concerns over noise and light issues for residents of Dodge Cove, to discussions on the Port Taxation themes and sone of the new terminals set to open.

But one topic that probably resonates large with many in the Community is that of access to the waterfront  for residents and visitors to the community.

For the most part, Prince Rupert residents have central community access to waterfront vistas and places of recreation or gathering in a area from Rotary Waterfront Park to the Atlin Terminal.

The area of note one of reinvention in recent years, with the Cow By Dock, Atlin Promenade and more recently the Lax Süülda Container Market all making for attractions and places for residents to embrace out door activities.

From the area west of Kwinitsa Station however, the waterfront is very much a working industrial site, with Shipment Terminals onshore and trains shunting rail cars to and fro, making for a mix that means restricted access for the community and the loss of once popular places for exploration for many in the Prince Rupert area. 

The same has been found on Ridley Island where areas that once were used for recreation have been closed off as industrial development ramped up on the Island and adjacent areas.

Waterfront access and the Port's thoughts on the future of it for the community was the last question of the night at last Thursdays APM session, that question submitted to the Port Authority prior to the event.

"There is a lack of waterfront access in our community, would PRPA consider investing in projects to provide for new waterfront recreational opportunities"

Ken Veldman, PRPA Vice President for Public Affairs and Sustainability spoke first to the question and outlined how the Port viewed access to the waterfront .

"Every community engagement we have, whether it be formal or informal,  we appreciate waterfront access is something within the community that has always been there and always will be there . 

But one of the things that were most proud of is,  is I think actually is the projects that we've been engaged with over the last ten years, they span a great number of things, but certainly waterfront access is one of them.

You know whether we're talking about even in just very recent years, the Promenade at Atlin, you know our significant engagement with the City in terms of Cow Bay Marina. 

Going back a little ways and you start to look at the Millennium Walkway, when you look at Rushbrook through the Community Investment fund, when we look at Seal Cove this year, these are all different aspects of Waterfront access.

And you know the reality is, is that one of the challenges that we have while we have a lot of land on Ridley, our land on the actual inner harbour is relatively limited and so you know it's working with partners to find out where that is in terms of what we can develop.

The other element is just from a Prince Rupert perspective, if waterfront access means beach, unfortunately one of the things that makes us a great port, doesn't make us a great beach town. Just in terms of how the water access looks like 

That being said we've got a significant Community Investment Fund, it's not the only big vehicle we use  for these kind of projects. But we're always dedicated to these kinds of Win-win projects where we can figure out ways to advance that. 

Because not only are we a corporation here, we are all residents of this community and we recognize the value of those kind of projects in terms making this a better place to live in

Port President and CEO, Shaun Stevenson added to that narrative, noting of the Port's work with the city on the recent 2030 Visoin plan offers  towards a blue print for the future, noting of a number of areas where the Port and City could be in sync when it comes to offering more amenities to residents of the community.

"Waterfront access can mean many things to many people and I think that the collaboration in the 2030 vision was a good example not just of the Port Authority and City working together, but also  of port partners. 

And then most recently we've had a great collaboration with the City of Prince Rupert comparing notes on central waterfront. You know the waterfront access is limited even between both the City and the Port Authority in what we have land and access to.  

So how can we look to you know optimize the opportunities for you know community access to waterfront and also the  commercial  vitality of the waterfront as well.

And we're seeing some of that in the Cruise program but also I think there's a heck of an opportunity in the area you know around the Kwinitsa rail museum and the City's project at the rail station, to look to optimize those to the benefit of the community overall.

And we've got some great planning in common dialogue going on with the City of Prince Rupert about that"

The Port has previously made note of some of the other areas towards creating areas of recreation and gathering for the community, some were part of a larger vision for the Atlin Terminal area which at one time included an Office Building and Festival Square features. 

Those previous concepts coming out of some planning themes of 2015, though the proposed themes seem to have faded from overview as the years moved forward and other concepts took shape.

Potential uses for Port owned lands near Atlin Terminal
from 2015

This past Seafest saw the Atlin Terminal/Promenade area become the focal point for the Sunday events,  providing an example of how the area could serve as a future host for large gatherings.

Seafest Sunday at the Atlin Terminal area
(photo from PR Special events)

From last week's APM gathering at the Crest, the Port indicated its desire to continue to partner with the City on joint areas towards providing for recreation space, projects such as the Cow Bay Dock, Millenium Walkway or Seal Cove Salt Marsh.

So likely that's where residents will next see those plans evolve, we had a glimpse a few years ago with the Rupert 2030 Vison plan that the Port CEO and President referenced.

Some of the elements of those plans can be explored here,  how those plans have moved forward can be explored further here.

As well, in 2022 Port Edward has its own waterfront project in mind, located just off of Galloway Rapids on the approach to the District Townsite, that too could be an area for collaboration between Port and Community,

Whether in Prince Rupert or Port Edward, wherever water meets shore, there is likely to be a discussion on how to access it and enjoy it, the conversation one that seems destined to carry on far into the future as Port, municipal governments and residents all try to find the right mix for everyone.

The full presentation on the evening is available from the PRPA website, along with some accompanying documentation to those themes.  

The Discussion on the Waterfront access themes starts at the one hour eight minute mark.

The video and more on last week's Prince Rupert Port Authority APM is available here.

A wider overview of Port related themes can be accessed here, while past City Council Discussion themes can be explored here.


  1. Word salad.

    Using the example of a partial contribution on a quarter-century old project (Millenium Walkway) as an example of waterfront access, you’ve lost the plot!!

  2. “significant engagement with the City in terms of Cow Bay Marina” …….. they leased the space and offered “logistical support” says the website , but did they put up any money?

  3. This community wholehearted disagrees with Veldman’s perspective that there is no beach. See: right next to Kwinitza (closed off by CN), next to the pellet terminal (closed by PRPA/Pinnacle), Sourdough Bay (closed by Coast Guard), Miller Bay (privately owned), Rail Trail (not sure if it’s Crown land or not), Grassy Bay, Galloway Rapids turnoff….

    There’s so many opportunities for more public beach access if there was the will to make it happen

  4. We need some indoor activities too. Trampoline park indoors, new movie theatre, batting cage. Partnership projects with community for the dark and stormy 6 months.