Work has begun on the habitat restoration Prince Rupert’s Seal Cove Salt Marsh, with proponents anticipating a transformation of a neglected area of the city into a vibrant recreational destination.
Human activity and industrial activity over the years near marsh, bordered by Seal Cove Road and Bellis Road, has led to the clearing of natural vegetation, disturbed intertidal habitat and the collection of waste and refuse, severely impacting the natural value of the site.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority is investing $4 million to restore the site to its natural state, along with improvements to attract recreational visitors.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to incorporate habitat compensation, environmental sustainability, and create a new public space for the community,” Shaun Stevenson, president and CEO of the Prince Rupert Port Authority said.
The project will revitalize a freshwater creek, marine riparian areas, intertidal marshes and mudflats, eelgrass beds and other shoreline plantings, as well as enhance connectivity to Fern Passage and Seal Cove for marine life under the existing trestle bridge.
Through a partnership with the City of Prince Rupert, which is supplying the land, the project will also include a water front access point with a lighted pathway around the marsh, a pedestrian bridge, viewpoints and seating areas, and interpretive signage.
The city expects the park’s proximity to Rushbrook Trail and Seal Cove seaplane base will make the site a unique Prince Rupert landmark.
“This sustainable, new development will enhance the lives of both people and wildlife, as well as upholds the Prince Rupert 2030 Vision for our community,” Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain said.
Project construction, undertaken by Coast Tsimshian Northern Contractors Alliance, is expected to be completed by July this year. However it will be three to five years before the natural state of the marsh reestablishes itself and the public can access the site.
The Seal Cove project is one of several compensations by the port for marine habitat impacts associated with the Fairview-Ridley Connector Corridor. Other projects include the Rushhrook Trail, Atlin Promenade, Cow Bay Marina, Atlin & Northland Terminals.
Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View