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Better access down to Chilliwack blueways could be coming for paddlers and more

City staff have a list of access points along Chilliwack sloughs and waterways that could be improved if the $30K blueways improvement grant gets approved - SUBMITTED PHOTO
City staff have a list of access points along Chilliwack sloughs and waterways that could be improved if the $30K blueways improvement grant gets approved
— image credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO

Chilliwack paddling enthusiasts may harbour a dream of one day being able to launch a canoe or kayak from several spots along local waterways.

Council had to decide last week between a grant application to build more outdoor green gyms on the south side of town, or one to create better recreational access to Chilliwack's Hope/Camp Slough system.

The idea to improve access to local "blueways" won council's favour.

Council is applying for a $30,000 grant next month to improve blueway access points for Chilliwack from the Active Communities Initiative, which is geared to raising physical activity levels.

"A blueway is the term used to describe a waterway which is navigable by canoe or small boat and provides recreational opportunities on water," according to the explanation in the staff report.

Thinking about providing access to blueways is completely new territory for city officials. But locals have been doing it recreationally and for other purposes for centuries.

Several sections of the Camp/Hope River systems were navigable by canoe in the old days, but the city hasn't undertaken the responsibility to maintain upkeep of these spots where a canoe or other vessel could be launched.

So the blueways access project is ideal for this brand-new grant application process, said staff.

"Launching a canoe into the water however can be somewhat of a challenge as many of the historical river access points along the Camp and Hope Rivers have become overgrown, and roadside parking is not always available at these access points," reads the details in the staff report.

"In order to encourage more use of these blueways, staff have identified eight locations (see attached map) where improvements can be made to provide easy access to the water."

Currently sections of the the Hope slough are more navigable than those in the Camp slough system. The hope is to get at least three developed access points developed, with off-road parking, and a stairway to the water's edge, with the help of the grant funding, should the city's application be successful.

The deadline for the Active Communities grant application is April 15.

 

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