Fraser River gravel removal set to resume

After two-year hiatus, B.C. officials are ready to start approving gravel removal operations again in the Fraser River.

After a two-year hiatus, Fraser River gravel removal operations are slated to resume early next year.

“We are looking to resume sediment removal during January to March 2013,” Carol Loski, director of Emergency Management BC’s flood protection program, said in an Aug. 2 email sent to “stakeholders.”

But why the program is re-starting now, and how effective gravel removal has been in flood protection over the past decade isn’t clear as EMBC officials did not return a Progress request for that information.

Chilliwack MLA John Les blamed the two-year hiatus on the “endless requirement” for studies and reviews in the process for obtaining permits to remove gravel during the brief window when in-river work can be done.

“That’s essentially what was happening,” he said.

Last year, a gravel removal operation at Tranmer Bar was cancelled at the last minute when federal fisheries requested additional information, which pushed the project beyond in the window for in-river work.

Despite his criticism of the process, Les stood by his pro-removal stance, saying “sustained” gravel removal does reduce the risk of flooding in the lower Fraser River.

The EMBC is asking for “stakeholder” feedback on the resumption of gravel removal by Aug. 20.

But Marvin Rosenau, a member of the Fraser River Gravel Stewardship Committee, said that’s not enough time for a full review of the consultant’s report to the EMBC.

“If they were honest about flood protection and engaging people,” he said, the EMBC would not send an email “out of the blue” in the middle of the summer when many stakeholders are on vacation.

“We’re just back to the same-old same-old,” he said Monday. “All of the unresolved issues at still outstanding.”

Each year, about 230,000 cubic metres of gravel and sand are washed down the Fraser and deposited in the “reach” between Agassiz and Chilliwack as the river current slows down.

Proponents of gravel removal argue the build-up of gravel on the river bottom is raising the water level beyond the capacity of dikes in the area.

Opponents say there is no proof gravel removal reduces flood risk, and the practice is damaging fish habitat.

The consultant’s report identifies the nine potential sites and describes why they were selected.

Just Posted

Third storm in a week hits Chilliwack

Power knocked out to about 2,600 BC Hydro customers

Chilliwack Chiefs rally falls one short in loss to Langley

The Rivermen jumped out to a 4 goal lead then hung on for a 4-3 win at Prospera Centre.

UPDATED: Gunfire erupts in quiet Langley neighbourhood early this morning

Police have 79A Avenue cordoned off after reports of shots just before 5 a.m.

Search continues near Ashcroft for missing Prince George woman

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Prevailing in the face of adversity

Chilliwack pilot living life to fullest will speak at UFV Oct. 23

VIDEO: Daze of Derby hosts teams from around B.C. and Washington

Reformatted tourney squeezed all the action into a one-day event.

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Police officer hit by car, stabbed in Edmonton attack back on job

Const. Mike Chernyk, 48, returned to work Thursday

Most Read