Milltown Marina & Boatyard

The riverfront at Milltown is coming back to life

by James Neufeld, Marpole Online writer

JUN 21, 2013 - Marpole Online had a walking tour of Vancouver's newest marina with Matthew and Andrew Cote of Cascadia Marine Group earlier this week. Cascadia is one of three owners of Milltown Marina & Boatyard including Bastion Development and the Musqueam Band.

Captain Matthew Cote was born in Vancouver, grew up in Marpole at 57th and Osler, and attended Winston Churchill Secondary. He has worked as a commercially licensed captain of large sailing vessels of up to 200 feet around the world and has seen a lot of marinas in his life. He chose Richmond Island as his next project and future home after spending 18 years in Whistler developing property and a decade at sea. He will be living on the site above the marina office and Milltown Bar and Grill with his partner who is a doctor. "We'll have a yacht captain and doctor on site" he said.

Cote's oldest brother, Paul Cote, was one of the founders of GreenPeace and Cote emphasized that he is also concerned about the environment. He said, "The only tree to come down on the site was one that a beaver took down." He continued, "We're putting in a park with interesting facts about the river with a walking and bike path to access it from 75th Avenue. Unlike North Fraser Park, this will be well lit at night for safety. There will be a lookout and picnic tables. The park and pedestrian walkway will enable pedestrians and cyclists to see the tug and barge traffic which is pretty interesting to watch." The Fraser is a working river.

According to Cote, Richmond Island was originally a sandbar and eventually named Jimmy's after a hermit who lived there. Then a cannery was built on the island and eventually came the property of Eburne sawmill. In recent years it was owned by CanFor and was used to store finished lumber products. The slough was in disrepair including having a creosote contaminated retaining wall on its north side. The slough was recently dredged and the wall is being replaced with a "green wall" to encourage plant life. The floor of the slough was full of sunken, rotting logs, concrete, and rebar all of which have been removed. Cote says, "The slough has already started to come back to life with more oxygenation of the water." He has already started to see fish jumping in the slough again, along with otters and geese. He added that otters and geese do well in marinas and are not bothered by docked boats.

With the recent closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard Base, Milltown Marina will also become the new base for the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue (RCMSAR), a volunteer organization. 1500 feet of docks are arriving next week and promotional signage has already gone up on SW Marine Drive.

Milltown Marina is scheduled to officially open September 1, 2013.

When asked about sailboat rentals, Cote said, "I'm not a fan of small sailboat or canoe rentals here. With its current, the river isn't a place for kids to go out in a small boat or canoe. If someone wanted to launch a canoe or kayak from the shore of North Fraser Park they could... parking, etc."

Milltown Bar & Grill is scheduled to open March 1, 2014 and will include a south-facing patio with river views and an 18 foot north-facing boardwalk overlooking the marina itself which is "fully sheltered from currents and river traffic". The bar and grill will have an affordable menu in keeping with the neighbourhood. The building will be painted red and have an asphalt roof in tribute to the time period of the former Eburne sawmill including a 1950s-style false front and other interesting features.

In describing Marpole, Cote said, "Some think of us as the poor Kerrisdale with not that many places for the public to enjoy". Interesting developments such as this will help to change that view.

Matthew & Andrew Cote of Milltown Marina

Captain Matthew Cote and son Andrew Cote of Milltown Marina. Photo by James Neufeld

Did you know that a new marina is being built just south of Granville Street and the Marpole commercial district?

by Claudia Laroye (Marpole BIA)

MAY 2012 — Richmond Island, in the north arm of the Fraser River, is being transformed from its former heavy industrial usage to be the new home of Milltown Marina & Boatyard.

Milltown Marina is a joint partnership between the Musqueam Band and Bastion Development.

They will be leasing Richmond Island from Port Metro Vancouver for the next 60 years, offering in-water slips and moorage, drystack storage, on-site repair and maintenance services, and a restaurant with patio.

As part of habitat restoration, a new bird and wildlife habitat islet has been created at the mouth of Eburne Slough, which was dredged to allow for the marina's development.

The Marina will be open and accessible to the public from Bentley Street, south of SW Marine Drive, via car and pedestrian/cycle path.

The Marpole BIA and members of the community worked with Marina Director Matthew Cote and the City of Vancouver on the public access and picnic area on the Marina site.

We are pleased that local residents and visitors will be able to get on to Richmond Island for the first time in decades.

"This new public access to Richmond Island will be a benefit to local residents seeking recreational activity, and a chance to reconnect with nature and the riverfront. People will be able to watch and enjoy all of the exciting river and airport activity up close," states Claudia Laroye, Executive Director of the Marpole BIA.

"It's another step towards achieving a full-length, public riverfront trail for Marpole and the entire north arm of the Fraser River."

The Marpole BIA and chART Marpole partners Emily Carr University are working with Marina Director Matthew Cote on adding elements of artwork and historical interpretation signage to the public picnic area.

Milltown Marina is scheduled to open in late summer 2013.

For more information, please visit