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Lower Fraser River communities call for federal funding to help cover dredging costs

Dredging in the Fraser River at New Westminster in July 2004.

Posted on April 10, 2023

A coalition of lower Fraser River communities has called on the federal government to help create a long-term dredging strategy for the river and its channels.

The coalition comprises the City of Richmond, the City of Delta, the Tsawwassen First Nation and the Musqueam Indian Band.

According to the group, the benefits of a $10-million dredging program completed in 2013 have been largely extinguished by the yearly spring runoff bringing sediment into the lower section of the Fraser River and its side channels.

“Access to many of our businesses, marinas, and float-home communities is only possible at high tide, and the safe movement of watercraft around the Fraser River estuary is being jeopardized,” the coalition wrote in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The letter stated one-off dredging projects need to be replaced by an annual and co-ordinated dredging effort.

“A working group has been re-established, with representatives from local governments, the B.C. government, the federal government, Metro Vancouver, Steveston Harbour Authority, and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to develop a pilot project that may serve as a model for other waterfront communities across Canada,” the letter read. “However, federal government support is needed to help develop a long-term funding and management model for the project.”

The coalition is asking for annual federal funding of $2.3 million a year. It is also asking for the Fisheries Department to be part of the working group.


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