I was on my paddleboard last fall in the Burrard Inlet. The Inlet is a really great place, there’s not a lot of speedboats so the water isn’t choppy. People who live in Vancouver often brag about being able to go skiing within 40 minutes of their home but I appreciate the fact I can be on the water, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, within 20 minutes of my home.
One of the coolest things about the Burrard Inlet was the log booms from the old Flavelle Mill site. This is where the Inlet’s harbour seal population hangs out, breeds, and raises young pups. The floating timber has been a vital part of the seals’ lives for decades.
But the sawmill closed this past year and removed the booms as part of vacating the city of Port Moody.
“It’s a real disaster for the seals,” Andrew Trites, director of UBC’s Marine Mammal Unit, told the Tri-City News. “They’re going to be pregnant and I don’t know where they’re going to go. It’s going to be every mother for themselves.”
The area’s seal population has boomed in recent years, leveling off in 2018. Some say this is likely because our transient orca whales swim up the Inlet looking for a seal meal.
We owe it to the seals to provide a breeding ground especially as they can no longer breed on shorelines due to development and human presence.
The booms were also a place of refuge for several species of birds, including sandpipers, herons, and eagles.
Thankfully, the city of Port Moody appears to be working with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority at looking at the idea of creating a floating set of rafts. But this needs to be done soon, as the spring brings seal pupping season.