Letters: Fixing something not broken

Blocking vehicle access to the Vedder River is a bad idea, letter writer says.

Good to see Jennifer Feinberg’s story on the closed gate at Hopedale Rd parking area. (New river gate prompts petition, Chilliwack Progress, April 20.)

It was a big disappointment to me when this gate was installed as it denied me access to a favourite fishing area on the Vedder River. When the gate went up a couple of months ago I expressed my displeasure to the mayor in that those of us of advanced years and with assorted health issues can no longer drive close to a good fishing area, where physical access to the water does not require risking broken hips or worse to enjoy the recreation that the river brings. The mayor’s assistants came up with a wonderfully worded response telling me that there are other places on the river that I could access. The fact that they tend to miss is that a person fishes where the fish are. I know politicians think they can walk on water at times but I don’t think they can tell the fish where to go to be caught.

I’ve never seen any of the ‘beater trucks’ that Ms. Gaetz mentioned in the article down on the gravel bar. I have seen several late model vehicles though. If her issue is with the vehicles being on the bar, a few strategically placed logs or boulders could fix that.

Since before the gate went up there, contractors have worked there with heavy equipment and ‘improved’ the existing road. This improvement involved bulldozing large quantities  of dirt back into the riparian area, burying the trunks and roots of cedar trees several feet deep and the addition of the crushed lime rock surfacing will change the pH of the soil and kill those cedars in the not too distant future. If a forestry company had done anything like that in close proximity to a salmon bearing water course, they could expect to be heavily fined and required to perform immediate remediation. Even the City of Chilliwack has environmental guidelines that were ignored by whoever oversaw and performed this work.

In summation, the city spent a goodly chunk of money to fix something that wasn’t broken. If I want to fish an area I’ve fished for 15 years, I’ll now have to walk a considerable distance. With a ‘bum’ heart, I’ll just have to hope that someone has keys to the gate so the ambulance service can give me a lift out of there.

Stephen Clarke