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Delta throwback: A 'very serious matter' continues

The sediment buildup continues to be a big problem
A February 1968 photo showing dredging work taking place in Ladner Harbour. The Centennial Dredging Company pumped sand from the riverbed into the south bank.

It’s been a problem spanning many decades for Delta without a change in sight.

An article in a March 1973 edition of the Delta Optimist with the headline “Dredging a Must” focused on the ongoing lobbying effort to get federal funding for dredging for Ladner Harbour and the secondary channels.

Delta MP John Reynolds said he planned to go after the government with “maximum effort” for dredging and future development plans for the harbour.

After touring the harbor with members of the United Fisherman and Allied Workers Union, Reynolds said, “Dredging of Ladner Harbour hasn’t even started, yet it has been promised for years by the Liberal government.”

He also told the Optimist, “I wonder how the fisherman are even going to get out of the harbour.”

He said the boat he was touring on hit the bottom at the mouth of the harbour.

“What’s going to happen later this month when the tide is down to three feet?” he asked.

Reynolds said he would be taking his information to Ottawa and would start immediate plans “to get government moving on this very serious matter.”

Fast forward to today and a coalition including the cities of Delta and Richmond, as well as the Tsawwassen First Nation and the Musqueam Indian Band, are lobbying the federal and provincial governments for ongoing funding for a sustainable dredging program.

Delta Mayor George Harvie recently directed city staff to contact Federal Fisheries Small Craft Harbours to request a meeting to discuss sediment build-up at Ladner Harbour and other locations in Delta.

“The City of Delta cannot do this alone and appreciate assistance from elected officials, Metro Vancouver, First Nations, marine businesses, float homes and other river users on this serious issue,” he said.

Delta South MLA Ian Paton recently submitted a petition in the legislature on “the urgent need to dredge the secondary channels of the Fraser River and to seek long term funding for an annual regional dredging strategy.”