Past the “authorized personnel only” signs guarding Rushbrook Trail, the 1.2-kilometre route is lined with lush greenery, scenic ocean views and several benches overlooking the harbour — but for the time being, it is also a construction site full of a crew and their equipment.
On Oct. 24, Bear Creek project manager Tim Waggott led several members of the Kaien Island Trail Enhancement and Recreation Society (KITEARS) through the Rushbrook Trail to show them the progress of the trail’s much-anticipated upgrade.
“We’re currently about three-quarters of the way through the trail,” Waggott said after the tour. “We’re about two months away from our bridges actually being manufactured by Progressive Steel in town. Once the bridges are installed, we’re ready to go.”
The bridges will move the trail away from the parallel cliff face, keeping it and people out of harm’s way from falling debris. Six walls also line the path to reinforce the cliff and prevent trees from blocking it. Other new features include some buildup to keep water from collecting into mud.
“The biggest difficulty we’ve had is working with the tides, trying to get those bridge foundations in,” Waggott said. “A lot of our guys have only got five hours a day to get down and get a lot of the foundation work done within the tidal zones.”
The upgrade has been underway since early September. Once one of the popular public waterfront walkways in Prince Rupert, Rushbrook Trail was decommissioned more than a decade ago after a large boulder fell during a heavy rainfall in 2003. Reopening the scenic trail was delayed until the Rotary Club of Prince Rupert was able to partner with the Port of Prince Rupert, CN, Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group and KITEARS.
Shawna Holkestad, a member of the trail society, snapped photos along the tour as they followed Waggott through the heavy rain. Holkestad said she was there to get an update in person.
“I think it’s phenomenal, the work that they’ve done,” Holkestad said. “Right now in the construction phase, it’s still pretty mucky, but once it’s done it’s amazing. Beyond my expectation.
“I think [the public is] going to be blown away when they have access to it.”