By building the equivalent of a seawall along the channel, there is hope the district may be able to build a better case to have the channel dredged.
At its Nov. 25 committee of the whole meeting, Sicamous council discussed a concept of the channel devised by Coun. Jeff Mallmes. It includes the east side of the channel being shored up and a wall being put in place. Mayor Terry Rysz said this would deal with a few issues. One, it would provide the base for the continuation of the walkway along the channel. Secondly, it would provide a definable line up to which to dredge the channel. Finally, said Rysz, if something like this were developed, it might improve the district’s case to acquire a permit to have the channel dredged.
“If we could ever pull something like this off it would be amazing,” said Rysz. “I think that would be the answer for that channel, from a walkway point of view, from a dredging point of view, access, it would clean the channel right up.”
Rysz emphasizes however that it is only a concept right now. But it’s one that will become part of the official community plan.
“The reason they brought it forward is the OCP committee was having a discussion on it and they just wanted council’s approval to put something like that in the new OCP,” said Rysz, adding approval still has to come from council.
Council has agreed to put $100,000 into the district’s operational budget for the dredging of the channel. District chief financial officer Kelly Bennett said that money could be used for consulting services to assist in facilitating of dredging.
“It’s not necessarily for the cost of the actual dredging,” Bennett explained. “My understanding is it’s more the cost of getting the dredging to occur.”
During the summer, residents from condos along the channel made a presentation to council, asking that an effort be made on having the channel dredged. They explained how low water this year had reduced the capacity of marinas on the channel by 173 boat slips. In response, Coun. Todd Kyllo noted a study had been done showing the benefits of dredging, not only for the marinas but also for fish habitat.
““So basically, the study… showed it could be more environmentally friendly for the fish, and it would create the economic setting that drives the channel today, and yet DFO (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) is still sitting on it,” Kyllo explained.
Rysz said there is no cost figure related to the construction of a wall, and that there’s a lot of work to be done before anything like it comes to fruition, including public consultation.
I think it could be doable, I really do,” said Rysz. “It would be a five-year plan without question.”