Before becoming a permanent Prince Rupert resident in 1976, I visited it in 1974. I had many pleasant memories of that trip however, one not so positive was during a stroll along the gravel road that parallels the aforementioned beach.
As me and my girlfriend were enjoying a fine summer day a vehicle stopped and a CNR policeman ( they used to be stationed here) stepped out and asked us what we were up to. We replied that we were visitors out exploring the community along the waterfront during a casual stroll. He advised us that we were trespassing on private CN property and asked to see our identification. After recording us in his notebook he ordered us to leave the area.
After the development of Ridley Island and the train yards relocated there, these restrictions eased up and the populace enjoyed easy unfettered access. Added to this, was the public use of the ‘viewpoint’ across the the road from the entrance to the coal facility and the genuine sandy beach past that point, both on Ridley Island. In fact, one year Seal Cove school planned a day long outing in june for their students to spend on the beach near the end of the school year. That road was popular among residents for dog walking or just enjoying nature as once you walked down aways, you could’t hear or see any evidence of the industry there.
And then Sept. 11, 2001 happened. From that point on, world security awareness ramped up including here in our little corner of the world. The port of Prince Rupert installed security gates on the Ridley and Scott roads and installed cameras on all areas of waterfront property on Kaien and Ridley islands. These cameras are monitored 24/7, 365 days of the year.
I have always marvelled at the fact that just about every other port city I have lived in or visited, had developed public areas for recreation and we didn’t. History has dictated that this was very limited here. First, as being originally developed and owned as a rail terminus in the early part of the 20th century, and then world events that took place in the 21st.