Gravel Bed and Habitat Compensation


Seaspan Shipyards has been competitively selected as the non-combat shipbuilder for the Government of Canada under the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The Government of Canada and Seaspan have entered a long-term strategic relationship to build vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Navy.

Seaspan is planning to construct a gravel bed to facilitate the launching of vessels being constructed within the Vancouver Shipyards site located at 10 Pemberton Avenue in North Vancouver.

The gravel bed is an underwater surface composed of fill material and slope protection used to assist with the launch process of the newly constructed Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy vessels. Vessels will be launched by submerging a floating drydock onto the gravel bed, allowing the vessels to be maneuvered onto the drydock from the shipyard. The drydock will then be raised off the gravel bed, taking the vessels to deeper water to complete the launch process.

Seaspan also proposes to install a portion of future slope protection within the gravel bed as part of a future proposed infill of the east basin at the site which forms part of the overall project.

In addition to the gravel bed Seaspan is planning to construct a habitat compensation area in Burrard Inlet adjacent to the facility, in order to improve the marine habitat within the vicinity of the project. The proposed marine habitat is designed to enhance kelp and juvenile salmonid habitat at the estuary of MacKay Creek.

Watch the three videos below to view progress on the project.

Map of Proposed Works and Surrounding Properties

The map shows the area of the proposed works within the Seaspan property and the surrounding properties within a 5-kilometer radius.

Project Description

The gravel bed and marine habitat consist of the following general project components:

  • Underwater gravel bed (support for floating drydock),
  • Rip-rap slope protection for gravel bed,
  • Intertidal and low water boulder mounds for marine habitat,
  • Habitat benches to support planting materials for improved marine habitat.

For additional information regarding the project components and submissions to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA), please visit the VFPA’s project website.


Habitat Compensation

Habitat compensation will consist of riparian benches and saltmarsh substrate, in addition to rock mounds and boulders for enhancement of marine habitat.  A plan view of the proposed habitat compensation is provided.

A section of the habitat compensation is provided in the figure below:

Construction Schedule

The current project schedule milestones for the gravel bed and habitat compensation are as follows:

Milestone Approx. Duration/Completion
Installation of Habitat Compensation Aug. 2021 to Mar. 2022
Installation of Gravel Bed & Shoreline Protection Aug. 2021 to Feb. 2022

Key Contacts

For more information about Seaspan’s project and construction activities, please contact:

For port-related questions or concerns contact the port authority’s Community Feedback Line at 604-665-9004