Dredging gets some traction at UBCM

District of Sicamous hoping to capitalize on municipal and regional government support for dredging.

The District of Sicamous is hoping to capitalize on municipal and regional government support for dredging the Fraser River, so as to address local needs.

At the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, the Corporation of Delta put forward a resolution asking senior levels of government to provide adequate, long-term funding to reinstate a dredging program for the Fraser River delta.

With Sicamous facing its own challenge just getting support and approval, let alone funding, to have the channel dredged, Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz said council put forward an amendment to the above resolution, a rewording that would have made it applicable to all of the different regions that have dredging issues.

“Coun. (Jeff) Mallmes did put that amendment forward during UBCM but that amendment, it was not endorsed,” said Rysz. “But the actual resolution put forward by Delta was endorsed.”

The goal now, says Rysz, is to craft a resolution inclusive of all B.C. communities facing dredging issues, to take to the Southern Interior Local Government Association for support. Rysz said the district is working on this with the support of City of Salmon Arm Mayor Nancy Cooper and Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area E director Rhona Martin.

At UBCM, Sicamous council, accompanied by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, had an opportunity to meet with Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Minister Steve Thomson, and bring the local dredging concerns to his attention. Rysz said it was an opportunity to provide the minister with an environmental report completed by Triton Environmental Consultants in 2006, for the purpose of having the channel dredged.

“A lot of that stuff was kind of left in the dust, so to speak, because there was information the province has never received,” said Rysz. “What we’re trying to do is get the province onboard… But still, the major challenge with it all is, of course, is Fisheries and Oceans Canada. We’re seeking First Nations support with this as well. Anyway, we’re kind of in the preliminary stages of trying to get this thing accomplished.”

In August, Sicamous council heard from residents who explained how this summer’s low water levels left marinas in the channel significantly short of boat slips. It was stressed how this could have a negative impact on the community’s tourism economy.