Moo-rage in Cow Bay Marina benefits Prince Rupert

December 1, 2021

Cow Bay Marina
Photo: City of Prince Rupert

It has been six years since the City of Prince Rupert embarked on a three-phase expansion of the Cow Bay Marina and the project has created positive economic benefits that have rippled through the community.

The multi-year endeavor resulted in the development of a new, 51 slip, full-service marina located in Cow Bay, Prince Rupert’s boutique shopping and tourism district. The marina provides the only moorage and access to amenities for those sailing the northern stretch of the Inside Passage.

“The Cow Bay Marina not only supports the growth of businesses by increased tourism dollars being spent locally, but it has also added to the livability aspect by providing residents of Prince Rupert access to the beautiful harbor,” said Paul Vendittelli, manager of transportation and economic development, City of Prince Rupert.  “I’ve seen everything from fishing to yoga taking place on the 600-foot-long marina breakwater.”

Between 2015 and 2018, the City of Prince Rupert completed over $4 million in upgrades to the marina and it has directly benefitted the community through the addition of new services to sailors that were previously unavailable in the area. Northern Development invested $464,873 into the three phases of improvements through the former Economic Diversification Infrastructure grant program.

The new marina provides a significant positive impact to local businesses, with direct visitor expenditures in the city increasing by approximately $2 million annually. Research at the time indicates that the average pleasure craft carries three to four passengers and stays between two and three days in a community. During this time in the marina, visitor spending ranges between $250 – $500 per day in the community as travelers disembark and spend time and money replenishing their supplies, performing maintenance and repairs, eating in restaurants, visiting laundromats and other activities.

“The marina continues to have a high occupancy rate and generates enough revenue to be completely sustainable,” said Vendittelli. “The addition of this high-quality facility has changed Prince Rupert’s seascape and provided a new source of tourism revenue for many local businesses as more and more itinerant vessels travel to Prince Rupert by water.”

The first and largest phase of the project saw the development of a new 51 slip marina beside the Prince Rupert Yacht Club. Capable of mooring 75-foot-long vessels, the marina is protected by a breakwater/wharf that provides safe waterfront access. Phase two improved the boaters’ experience by developing infrastructure to access water, electricity, washrooms, showers and laundry. Each of these services collect user fees, providing a direct source of revenue. The final stage lengthened the breakwater built in phase one by 100 feet. The extension provides additional linear footage for mooring vessels, increasing annual revenue, and gives kayak and paddle board users a proper area to launch their boats.

Phase two saw the addition of new amenities to Cow Bay, including services located in this building.
Photo: City of Prince Rupert

Northern Development disbursed a total of $464,873 through its former Economic Diversification Infrastructure grant program to assist with the costs of improving the Cow Bay Marina. Through the new community development funding programs introduced in 2020, similar projects are eligible for a grant from the new Recreation Infrastructure program.