River should be dredged: Hensman

The BC Flood Protection Program manager said delays halted river dredging

The Fraser River needs to be dredged and Councillor Dave Hensman wants to make the topic an election issue for the provincial government.

The decision to not do the work on the river this year is “ridiculous,” said Hensman.

In a letter to the district, Tim Preece, BC Flood Protection Program manager explained there isn’t enough time to complete the work by the end of this month to minimize the impact of fish habitat.

Reasons for the delay included concern from the Cheam Indian Band and a late freshet season.

“Fraser River sediment is so bad right now … we’re starting to build islands in the middle of the Fraser River,” said Hensman, noting there are 18 sand bars from Hope to Mission.

Hensman would like these bars removed because eventually they will cause a “huge, huge, huge problem.”

“Let us not forget our history here in Mission,” he continued, referring to devastating floods in Mission in 1894 and 1948.

Coun. Tony Luck agreed, saying, “It’s no longer a natural watercourse. As soon as you build dikes around there … you don’t allow the natural course of water to flood the fields.

While Mayor Ted Adlem supported his council’s views, he pointed out dredging is not a new issue and the reason why there are 40-50 logging tucks going through downtown is because “we don’t have the internal fortitude to go out and actually make a passage way in the river and make the river a transportation system the way it was 40-50 years ago.”

Now is the time to get people’s attention and make it an election issue, urged Hensman.

“It’s a great season for these issues.

Council plans to set up a meeting with provincial officials and will invite other communities to get involved.