They’ll be right back where they started unless they work together with other communities.
That’s how Mayor George Harvie summed up the lack of 'anything' happening when it comes to trying to get senior government to the table to come up with funding for an ongoing dredging program for the Delta river channels.
During council’s discussion on Monday, Feb. 22 on port-related issues, Coun. Lois Jackson lamented how there’s been no action despite lobbying efforts on the issue, saying nothing will happen at all unless the city continues to press.
Harvie agreed but noted “a good plan of attack” will be to reach out to the Tsawwassen First Nation, Musqueam Indian Band as well as the City of Richmond to have a united voice to convince government to have an ongoing program.
A report to council noted the final phase of an eight-year dredging program involved the removal of 6,000 cubic metres of sediment at the entrance to Deas Slough between Dec. 12, 2020 and Jan. 14, 2021.
With that, $10 million in provincial, municipal and Vancouver Fraser Port Authority funding has been fully spent.
“Over the last several years, there has been a significant effort at both the staff and political level to find a long-term solution to the dredging issue. There have been numerous meetings with federal officials in Ottawa and provincial officials in Victoria, as well as meetings with ministers and staff at UBCM, resolutions and policy papers,” the report notes.
“Despite this, there has been little progress made in identifying an agency to be primarily responsible for managing and funding local channel dredging. In the meantime, the natural sedimentation processes of the Fraser River are continuing and, after this year's freshet, the local channels will have received another significant deposit of sediment.”
The report adds that the latest dredging effort should ensure that the channels around Ladner remain navigable for at least two-to-three years.
However, there are some specific high points, including Canoe Pass, which may become problematic sooner.
Council asked staff to report back on how Delta should proceed.
The Ladner Sediment Group has also been working with the city on the issue.