Once a Sandbar, Now a Marina

Once a Sandbar, Now a Marina

VANCOUVER, Canada — Canada’s newest marina, Milltown Marina, sits on the outskirts of downtown Vancouver, B.C. in a well-protected basin on the North Arm of the Frasier River on Richmond Island. Following, almost four years of permitting hurdles and a year of construction, Milltown opened its doors in October 2013.

According to an article that ran in Marpole Online, the island was originally a sandbar. Then a cannery was built on the island and eventually a sawmill. The site was in disrepair from years of neglect and heavy industrial use. Following a comprehensive cleanup effort of the waters and the upland property as well as a number of habitat restoration measures, the area is coming back to life.

The marina’s wet slips cater to vessels 30 feet to 80 feet in length with a capacity for 220 vessels. The floating concrete docks are terracotta colored with rounded finger ends.  The inspiration for the dock’s color was taken from a high-end megayacht marina in the British Virgin Islands that was built by Bellingham Marine. Full utilities are provided at all slips. The marina also includes a dry storage building for vessels under 30 feet in length as well as a restaurant and club house.

An old creosote contaminated retaining wall was replaced with a “green wall” to encourage plant life, sunken logs, concrete and rebar were removed from the slough floor, and a new bird and wildlife habitat islet was created at the mouth of the slough.             In January 2013, Bellingham Marine was awarded a design/build contract for the construction of the marina. Bellingham’s scope of work included dock and electrical design, dock installation and supply of electrical equipment.

Developers of the marina and upland property hope that the new facility will help provide some relief from chronic moorage shortages for Metro Vancouver boat owners as well as provide new public access to Richmond Island for residents seeking recreational activities and a chance to reconnect with the riverfront. Currently, waiting lists for moorage in Vancouver can stretch up to eight years.


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