In 2000, the Village of Alert Bay took over responsibility for the former Transport Canada dock. The dock was very old and needed significant upgrades to welcome visitors and provide a safe harbour. The municipal dock is a short walking distance from the BC Ferries terminal and welcomes recreational boat traffic to the community. Most visitors to Alert Bay arrive as walk-on ferry passengers and pedestrian access from the BC Ferries terminal was less than optimal. Travellers were forced to walk along the roadway, in unsafe conditions, to reach the village restaurants, shops and harbour.
In order to realize their vision of a walkable, visitor-friendly community, the Village of Alert Bay created a safe and attractive pedestrian corridor by building a boardwalk linking the BC Ferries terminal to the Village. The project also included improvements to the dock, with new larger deck and pilings, installation of mooring dolphins, and upgraded security. The increased load capacity of the dock allows for greater transport of goods and the improved infrastructure enables the safe landing of international vessels. The improved appearance and accessibility also makes it a great gathering place for marine festivals, races and other tourism related activities.
Completed in February 2009, the new boardwalk showcases the waterfront heritage of Alert Bay, complements the Village’s architecture and heritage, and provides an inviting welcome to ferry travellers, pocket cruise ships, visiting boaters and tour operators. Juxtaposed next to the newly developed Namgis First Nation Boardwalk and awakwes, located on the other side of the ferry terminal, the two sections of boardwalk illustrate the collaboration and coexistence of the two cultures on Cormorant Island. The improved municipal dock has created great opportunities for increased marine traffic to Alert Bay which has included the attraction of pocket cruise ships, marine research vessels as well as the development of races and events which have attracted significant media attention, new residents and visitors to the Island.