Q&A with all candidates: Fraser River dredging

The Optimist asked candidates running in Delta in this month’s federal election a series of questions on issues that have local connections

Despite a large-scale dredging effort earlier this decade, the secondary channels of the Fraser River are beginning to experience significant sediment accumulation. Delta has repeatedly asked the federal government for dedicated annual funding for dredging so local channels remain navigable. Should Ottawa provide that funding?

Randy Anderson-Fennell - NDP

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I live in a floating home in Ladner, and have personally witnessed the devastation, anxiety and economic damage caused by a lack of dredging of the Fraser River’s secondary channels. My home has hit the river bottom many times. The bottom line — pardon the pun — is these channels are part of our public infrastructure. And rightly, the city has been lobbying for consistent federal funding to assist with dredging for a decade. The NDP would prioritize and invest in public infrastructure, and I would be an insistent voice in Ottawa pushing for sustainable funding.

 

Tanya Corbet - Conservative

The last batch of funding to flow from a federal agency for local dredging was under the previous Conservative government. I commit to advocate for stable, predictable funding from agencies that have responsibility, including the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.

 

Craig DeCraene - Green

Port authority, since 2007, has given million of dollars to help with dredging secondary channels. But only dredges main channel, so it believes the government could fund some of the dredging needed to navigate the secondary channels.

 

Angelina Ireland - People’s Party

In a word, yes. The issue of funding sediment removal for secondary channels of the Fraser River affects a number of municipalities and is of major concern because dredging in recent years has not been maintained resulting in huge sediment accumulation which significantly increases the potential for a major flood to overtop the dikes or dike failure. This potential natural disaster would affect many communities along the river. I would help facilitate a long-term, sustainable and environmentally responsible dredging effort with contributions that include a federal source.

 

Carla Qualtrough - Liberal

Sediment accumulation in the secondary channels in and around Delta impacts transportation, commercial fishing, water lease holders, flood mitigation efforts and upstream fish processors. The economic impact of not having reliable, regular secondary channel maintenance is significant. The federal government has a role to play, and I have been working with the province, the port and the Ladner Sediment Group. An important piece of the puzzle is the reinstatement of a regional planning mechanism along the Fraser River. This issue remains a top priority for me.

 

Tony Bennett - independent

The ports on the Fraser river service our nation coast to coast with goods and services. All beneficiaries and users of the river should pay for river maintenance. I will seek financial support from Federal, Provincial, other municipalities and businesses such as the ports and transportation industry members. I will bring my resourceful problem solving skills to this predicament and work with the many committed people to bring a feasible, and financially sustainable solution to fruition.

 

Amarit Bains - independent

All levels of government and their agencies need to work together to ensure sediment accumulation is properly addressed. To streamline this process, I would like to see the development of a committee addressing the sediment accumulation along secondary channels of the Fraser River. If a new container terminal is to be built at Delta port, clearing sediment build up in the Fraser River needs to be a top priority. Sediment build up results in negative economic consequence to industries such as fishing, transportation and others.

 

 

 

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