Jennifer Feinberg/ Progress Gus Marchman loves the Hope Slough in Chilliwack. He has lived near the waterway on Fairfield Island for 65 years, and hopes it can one day be restored.

Hope Slough needs to be cleaned out, says Chilliwack senior

Many are dreaming about the restoration of the popular waterway

Gus Marchman loves the Hope Slough in Chilliwack.

He’s lived near the storied waterway on Fairfield Island for 65 years.

“I swam the Hope River from bridge to bridge,” said Marchman, 81.

He has fond memories, and he laments the sorry state of the slough.

“Right now it’s a mud hole,” he said with mild disgust.

It’s choked with canary reed grass and sometimes smells bad due to algae overgrowth. There was a mysterious fish die-off in the slough last summer from a low-oxygen plume.

“The fishing used to be good,” Marchman said, listing coho, chinook and chum that he would target.

Decades ago it was the place for swimming, boating, fishing, skating — even became famous for the Rosedale Canoe Races.

“The last time I went swimming in it was about 1974,” he said.

He hopes the slough can one day be restored to its former glory, as the recreational jewel it once was.

Marchman is the kind of Chilliwack resident that the Friends of the Camp-Hope Slough and Watershed Watch have been advocating for over the past year.

“It means a lot to me,” said Marchman. “It’s a waterway that people really enjoy. But not anymore! It stinks in the summer. So why not clean it out and get it back to the way I remember it?”

Watershed Watch and the Friends of Camp-Hope Slough are hosting a Slough Tour by water on Saturday, May 27 starting at 10 a.m. Residents can bring their own kayak or canoe, or rent one.

For the meeting place details, email Lina Azeez at lina@watershedwatch.ca.