LETTER: Industrializing waterfront could harm river

Sports fishing industry contributes an estimated $6 million to economy

Re: Barge loading returning to Mission, March 7 edition.

The Mission waterfront is known to be critical habitat for endangered white sturgeon, one of our community’s treasures.

Council’s recent move to reverse Mission’s ban on barge loading on the Fraser River threatens sturgeon habitat, and completely disregards the environmental and social importance of a healthy river ecosystem to our community.

Lifting the moratorium opens the floodgates for massive industrial expansion by the Vancouver Port Authority and others, potentially bringing increased noise, truck traffic through the downtown, and pollution of the river.

The floodplain of the Fraser also creates prime agricultural soils necessary for our community’s food security. These soils will be damaged by contamination and compaction due to the influx of trucks and heavy equipment destined for the barges. Proponents of industrialization of our riverfront claim it will create jobs, but appear to disregard the economic value of the world’s number one salmon river, which has been estimated to bring $6 million each year to the local economy from the lucrative sports fishing industry, not to mention the importance of the salmon to area wildlife and eagles.

Surely there must be a way to enhance Mission’s economy without destroying our environmental heritage.

Tracy Lyster

Mission