CN has repaired and extended its fence to block off access to its property by the Lightering Dock.

CN has repaired and extended its fence to block off access to its property by the Lightering Dock.

Beach access no more

One of the last beach access points on Kaien Island has been fenced off by CN.

One of the last beach access points on Kaien Island has been fenced off.

The strip of beach was once a place where residents were able to take their dogs to the water or go for an evening stroll but the property actually belongs to CN. The company put an end to public access on Thursday, Oct. 6 when it put up a fence.

“CN has repaired and extended existing fencing around its property adjacent to the downtown railyard to deter trespassing on private property, which is illegal and extremely dangerous,” said CN’s spokesperson Kate Fenske in an email.

There were many reactions to the new fence on Facebook, including a statement from Mayor Lee Brain. “I know many in the community have been disappointed to hear that CN has fenced off waterfront access to the piece of beach next to the Rotary waterfront park. While we understand CN’s position that there is a real danger involved with having the public in an area that is potentially unsafe, we believe that there are creative solutions to make the beach safe for public access,” he wrote.

He continued that they City of Prince Rupert has reached out to multiple contacts at CN for the past few years to maintain the beach access for this area.

“Our offer for city staff to work with CN’s environmental team to analyze and develop remediation options for the site stands, and we hope that CN will work with us so that we can retain this small stretch of beach,” Brain wrote.

Although, the city doesn’t have jurisdiction over the area, Brain said the city is committed to increasing waterfront access in the areas they can control, such as the breakwater at Cow Bay Marina, and they “are looking at improvements to be made in other public areas as well.”