Environmental concerns top of mind for Souris boardwalk expansion

The 457-metre expansion of the Souris boardwalk is underway and work is being done in a way that officials with the project say will minimize any environmental impact.

Originally, the boardwalk expansion was meant to be much longer, said Brian Deveau, co-chair of the Souris Beach Boardwalk Committee. 

"We wanted the boardwalk to go all the way out to the bridge to allow for a loop," he said.

But, the dunes in the area attract wildlife, and the original construction plans raised some environmental concerns, so the committee revised the project.

"For now, we are building out to a gazebo for residents to have a place to rest," he said. 

Protecting the environment

Deveau said the construction of the boardwalk is being done in a way that will minimize the amount of harm to dunes in the area.

Contractors working on the project build portions of boardwalk in advance, then place them on metal poles, to keep them off the dunes.

Brian Higgins/CBC News

Workers on-site have to stay within roped-off areas alongside the bridge so they don't damage the dunes.

Construction started a couple of weeks ago, and Deveau said he hopes the expansion will be open to the public in four to six weeks. 

"We had to wait until now to ensure that all of the migratory birds have left the area, and there is a fox den out there also, so we didn't want to disturb any of that," he said. 

Brian Higgins/CBC News

It's the latest construction project for the area, with an offshore reef and a seawall completed in recent years. 

The province and ACOA are picking up most of the $400,000 price tag for the project.

Deveau said the Souris Beach Boardwalk Committee will keep looking for ways to extend the boardwalk in the future. 

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