At the end of Burrard Inlet’s Port Moody Arm, the Shoreline Trail includes two sections of boardwalk, four bridges, and a raised gravel pathway around Pigeon Cove, and a paved multi-use pathway. This area is one of Port Moody’s most widely used trails, hosting over 230,000 visits a year. In addition to being an important recreational area for the community, this is a critical ecosystem area for fish, birds, and other wildlife. 

Planning for the future

The City recognizes the importance of the Shoreline Trail in providing public access to the waterfront view corridor and in the protection and enhancement of this unique environmentally sensitive area. To ensure that this valued community asset is preserved, the Shoreline Trail is included in such significant City planning documents as the Official Community Plan, Parks and Recreation Master Plan, and Environmentally Sensitive Areas Management Strategy.

The boardwalks were originally constructed by City crews over thirty years ago as part of a larger trail system connecting Rocky Point Park to Old Orchard Park. These unique wooden structures are now aging and are frequently covered by water during king tides and storm surges. In 2021 an engineering assessment determined that the boardwalks and bridges will need to be replaced and staff began the process of planning for this trail renewal. 

Upgrades are proposed for the 440 metres of boardwalk, bridge, and gravel trail between the stair access at Murray Street and the junction with the paved trail north of the bridge over Noons Creek. Plans for the new boardwalks and bridges include widening and raising them to accommodate rising sea levels due to climate change, with railings added for improved safety. Taking into consideration budget and environmental and archeological assessments, sections of the gravel trail connecting the boardwalks and bridges may remain as gravel and be further raised or may be replaced in part by extending the boardwalks. 

The construction of the project has been split into two phases. Due to archeological/heritage resources encountered during field investigation, the decision to undertake the project in phases was made to accommodate more rigorous archeological investigation in advance of construction to ensure that construction can be completed within the federally mandated environmental work windows. The first phase of construction will focus on replacement of the southern section of the boardwalk between Murray Street and Suter Brook Creek, and is scheduled between December 2023 and summer 2024. Construction on the remaining areas of the boardwalk is anticipated, pending future funding.

Construction update

April 22, 2024

The piles required for the new boardwalk construction have arrived, and work has resumed. Initial testing indicated the need for additional analysis to ensure the safety and proper settling of the boardwalk, which caused a delay. Construction activities are now progressing as planned.

Phase 1 December 2023 to summer 2024

Phase 1: boardwalk rendering at south end, over Pigeon Cove near Murray Street (click image thumbnail to enlarge):

boardwalk rendering at south end

Phase 1 will focus on replacement of the southern section of the boardwalk between Murray Street and Suter Brook Creek. However, the full length of Phase 1 and Phase 2 lower gravel and boardwalk path between Murray Street (3200 block) and the intersection with the upper multi-use path near the bridge over Noons Creek is closed due to work on this project. We anticipate this section of the trail will re-open in summer 2024.

Trail users can detour along the multi-use path as shown on the map below. 

Detour route and lower gravel trail closure: January to summer 2024

 map of lower boardwalk on Shoreline Trail showing closure from Murray Street to bridge over Noons creek

Phase 2

The remaining section of the boardwalk and gravel path, extending from the Phase 1 section to the bridge over Noons Creek, will be replaced in Phase 2, pending future funding. Phase 2 is also expected to include the viewing platform as part of a collaboration with the In the Presence of Ancestors project. 

Phase 2: boardwalk rendering at north end, over Noons Creek (click image thumbnail to enlarge):

Boardwalk rendering over looking south

Considerations

Replacing the boardwalks is a complex project with many significant considerations:

Archeology and First Nations
The project area is of high archeological importance to local First Nations, and conversations with Indigenous partners about the project are ongoing. To limit disturbances to this area the proposed design of the boardwalks largely follows the existing trail path. Archeological monitoring will continue during construction to further mitigate the risk of encountering archaeologically sensitive material.
Environment
Rebuilding the boardwalks will require specialized construction methods, with work only permitted in this environmentally sensitive area that are controlled by regulatory authorities.
Design and feel
The rustic feeling and unique shape of the current boardwalks are a well-loved community feature for residents. Careful consideration has been given to developing a boardwalk design that captures the feel of this natural location and the current ambiance of this popular area.
Budget, design, and construction

Multiple design options have been considered to determine an approach that is adaptable to climate change and meets the unique archeological and environmental construction considerations of this area within the available budget.

To limit new disturbances to this area the design of the boardwalks largely follows the existing trail path and specialized construction materials and methods are proposed. Using helical piles will reduce disturbances to the marsh during installation, and construction equipment will be kept off the environmentally sensitive area through a top-down construction, or build-as-you-go, approach.

Tree management and plant salvage

Approximately 10 trees will be removed because they are in poor health, or they are within the boundary of the work area. Trees will be removed using environmentally sustainable practices and will be chipped and turned into topsoil. As per the City’s Corporate Tree Management Policy on City Property, each tree will be replaced at a 2:1 ratio. This means that for every single tree that is removed, two new trees will be planted in its place. Trees will be replanted on sections of the trail and locations near the boardwalk. 

Apple tree arch

The iconic arch found north of Suter Brook Creek at the start of the phase 1 project area was reviewed by a professional arborist and staff during the design stages of the project. Further staff review and monitoring revealed that the archway had originally formed when a main branch from the tree split and fell over the trail. The tree was found to be in a very poor condition and the arch itself would present a safety hazard if left in place. The project team made a difficult decision to prune back the damaged sections of the tree, while maintaining as much as possible. This work was completed in March 2024. 

Photo 1: Photo showing significant decay in the stems that have been removed.
Photo 2: Photo showing a crack in the stem of the remaining part of the tree, with daylight visible through the trunk.

Chocolate lily plant salvage

The existing gravel trail within phase 1 of the project area is home to chocolate lilies which are of cultural significant to local First Nations. As part of the planning stages of the project the locations of any Chocolate Lilies within the project area were mapped and any plant in conflict with the new construction identified for relocation. The project team will be transplanting these lilies in March 2024 to their new home along the same section of trail from where they were found.

Benefits

Replacing the boardwalks provides a valuable opportunity to also bring improvements to this popular area. These include:

Ecosystem rehabilitation

Updating the infrastructure provides an opportunity to consider ways in which the project can enhance this environmentally sensitive area. Through the raised boardwalk design and improvements at the Inlet viewpoint, unsafe access to the mudflats can be better controlled to help decrease damage to this critical ecosystem. The final project design will also consider options that contribute to environmental restoration, such as relocating bridge abutments outside of creeks, removing invasive plants, plant salvage, and ecological restoration of the salt-water marsh.

Safety improvements

boardwalk under water at king tide

Photo by Romas Simonelis

King tides and storm surges frequently cover the boardwalks with water and flood the connecting gravel trails, resulting in temporary closures, damage to the structures and increased maintenance. The new boardwalk design will be raised to ensure it is adaptable to climate change and rising sea levels. Railings will be added for additional safety with the increased boardwalk height.

The mudflats, which can be as deep as eight feet, are unpredictable, can give way suddenly, and can even act like quicksand in some areas. The raised boardwalk design and proposed improvements at the Inlet viewpoint will better manage access to the mudflats to increase the safety of trail users and their pets.

Accessibility improvements

Redesigning the boardwalk provides opportunities to improve trail user accessibility. The widths of the boardwalks will be increased, and the grade of the path reduced where it leads on and off the bridges. The grade can also be reduced and steps removed where possible at the access points at each end of the boardwalk section of the trail.

Support for community initiatives

The new boardwalk design provides opportunities to improve the trail experience for community initiatives including education and outreach programs through environmental stewardship groups, and community-based nature and observation events that take advantage of the intact tidal marshes, mudflats, and the wildlife that depends on these features (e.g. birds, fish, deer, coyotes, bears, and rare plants).

Timeline

completeCompleted

  • funding for the project approved in capital budget
  • consultation with Parks and Recreation Committee
  • support received from local environmental stewardship groups and Port Moody Foundation as part of the City’s process to submit applications for grant funding
  • environmental assessment and determination of design constraints
  • stakeholder feedback on proposed concept design for boardwalk and bridge replacement
  • engineering concept design for boardwalk and bridge
  • interim bridge repair feasibility
  • engagement with Rights Holder First Nations
  • community information pop-ups on the trail (June 22 and 24, 2023)
  • environmental permitting
  • archeological investigations and permitting 
  • procure specialized contractor for boardwalk and bridge construction
  • finalize boardwalk and bridge designs
  • geotechnical preliminary work
  • additional pile load testing

In Progress  In progress

  • Phase 1 construction December 2023 to summer 2024

not started Upcoming

  • Phase 2 construction anticipated to begin, pending future funding.

Project collaboration

Staff are also considering opportunities for collaboration with other projects underway along the Shoreline Trail.

Viewing platform

The In the Presence of Ancestors project, which will see five house posts raised along Port Moody’s shoreline, has one site located on a side trail off the boardwalk network. As shown in the map below, this location provides an opportunity to connect an additional viewing platform on the northeast side of Pigeon Cove. Collaboration between these projects will reduce the overall impact to this area during construction and result in expanded safe access to this popular viewpoint, while minimizing the environmental impact. Visit the In The Presence of Ancestors page for more information on this project. If you have questions or comments on the new viewing platform, please fill out our online comment form.

Viewing platform rendering on which the q̓ic̓əy̓ (Katzie First Nation) house post will be raised (click image thumbnail to enlarge):

 Boardwalk rendering over looking south

Coordinating trail closures

As shown in the map below, there are multiple separate trail projects around this area of the Shoreline Trail. Coordination between the projects could allow for:

  • increasing construction efficiencies; and
  • helping to decrease the overall length of time that users are impacted by the construction projects along this stretch of the Shoreline Trail.

 Map of projects along Shoreline Trail

For more information on improvements to the paved portion of the Shoreline Trail as well as the replacement of the bridge over Noon’s Creek, see Shoreline Trail Sanitary Sewer Upgrades Project.

Outdoor information pop-ups June 22 and 24

Thank you to everyone who attended our outdoor information pop-ups on June 22 or June 24, 2023. We hope you gained valuable knowledge about the project, had a chance to explore display boards featuring renderings of the Shoreline Trail boardwalk design, and ask questions.

Questions?

If you have questions or comments on the boardwalk replacement project or the proposed viewing platform, please fill out our online comment form.

Comment form 

Contact
Project engineer 
604-469-4549