It’s a beautiful riparian area on the Fraser River that has become a dumping ground for illegal garbage, burned pallets, and assorted junk left behind from homeless squatters.
Known as Gill Bar, it’s a popular riverside destination for anglers, the four-by-four community, as well as campers, at the end of Gill Road on the north side of Chilliwack.
The often-trashed area is now under consideration by provincial officials for a gate, and possibly a provincial campground.
Members of the Fraser Valley Salmon Society and the Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance met with Mayor Ken Popove and city staff, and other reps to discuss possibilities for Gill Bar this week, and to advocate for maintaining riverbed access.
“They are currently working with the Province of British Columbia, Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Once again, this is just the early stages of developing the plan,” said Chris Gadsden, a director with FVSS, on Facebook.
The only thing confirmed so far is that they’re looking at a gate. No one is talking about putting lock blocks to completely obstruct access to the riverbed at this point.
Different levels of government and river advocates have been sitting down to brainstorm possible solutions while provincial reps go through the bureaucratic motions for installing a gate.
“We were excited what is being planned and was pleased Mayor Popove and staff invited us to sit down and discuss the issue,” Gadsden posted recently.
The challenge for provincial officials and enforcement entities trying to deal with squatters and homeless camping debris is that the legal process of eviction is a tricky one.
One of the scenarios for the potential campsite would be to see user pay for overnight camping, and day use would be free.