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City of Chilliwack looking to slow down motorized watercraft on Vedder Canal

In an online survey, the City is suggesting applying for a federally approved speed restriction
A file shot of the Vedder Canal near the Keith Wilson Bridge on Jan. 17, 2015. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress file)

The City of Chilliwack wants to slow down motorized watercraft speeds along the Vedder River/Canal, and is seeking public input in a new online survey.

The Vedder river is a popular spot for non-motorized watercraft, anglers and families and it’s also hugely important to Stó:lō culture, tradition and identity.

Bordering on the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve, the Vedder river and is home to sensitive wildlife including salmon, and is a key part of Chilliwack’s dyke infrastructure.

As the area grows in popularity, the City says faster boats are using the waterway more often, increasing risks to public safety, the environment and the dyke infrastructure.

In October of 2020, fishing guide Rodney Hsu who runs Fishing with Rod posted a video of a jet boat cruising up the Vedder River while he was fishing.

“The conversation on boat motor/speed restriction for some watersheds will now go beyond social media after seeing this tonight,” he commented.

RELATED: Volunteers tackled trash pile dumped by the Vedder Canal in Chilliwack

RELATED: City of Abbotsford applies for grant for Vedder River flood-risk study

The Vedder River/Canal is considered a navigable waterway by Transport Canada and falls under the Federal Navigation Protection Act. While the City can’t keep motorized watercraft off the river, it can apply for a federally approved speed restriction to slow them down between the Vedder Bridge and the Vedder Canal’s confluence with the Fraser River.

“This corridor is Chilliwack’s most popular outdoor recreational area,” said Chilliwack Mayor Ken Popove. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy our natural spaces safely and respectfully, and look forward to hearing from the community on this issue.”

The survey can be found at anytime between now and Aug. 6.

Residents can pick up paper copies of the survey from City Hall’s front ticket windows at 8550 Young Road, and drop surveys off at City Hall’s 24 hour drop box. They can also email or call 604-793-2810.


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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