Mayors and chiefs want sustainable dredging program in lower Fraser River

DELTA Mayor George V. Harvie, Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, Chief Ken Baird of the Tsawwassen First Nation and Chief Wayne Sparrow of the Musqueam Indian Band in a joint letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan have requested collaborative action to establish a sustainable dredging program to mitigate the economic, social and environmental impacts that occur when sediment is allowed to accumulate and block important local waterways.

They noted: “There is a long and complex backdrop to this issue, involving Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the Province of BC, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, and the various local harbour authorities and community groups that have formed to advocate for action on dredging. A collaborative effort is required to resolve this issue since jurisdictional responsibility for local channel dredging is unclear; this is no comprehensive plan for maintaining the local channels of the lower Fraser River; and there is no dedicated funding.”

The letter pointed out that in 2013, the cities of Delta and Richmond, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and the Province of BC undertook a $10-million collaboration to dredge the secondary channels around Ladner and Steveston and were successful in restoring the local channels to pre-1990 levels.

However, the letter warns that “without further action, we will soon be back to square one and emergency dredging will be needed to address critical situations as they arise.”

The letter states: “This issue will not go away and, year over year, it will only get worse. It is time to come together and address this matter once and for all.”

View the letter here.