Posted on April 19, 2023
The provincial government is allocating $2.1 million towards dredging the south arm of the Fraser River.
With equal amounts coming from the Steveston Harbour Authority (SHA) and the City of Richmond, the budget is almost complete.
The SHA has asked for funding from all three levels of government for dredging as sediment continues to build up in the river – something that is starting to impede navigation on the river.
However, SHA general manager Jaime Gusto noted that a federal contribution is still missing. The federal government owns the harbour, and Gusto hopes they will also chip in $2.125 million so the $8.5 million dredging project can go ahead, something she said MP Parm Bains has been working on.
Sediment is building up in the river and is starting to impede navigation on the river.
“As the hub of B.C.’s commercial fishing industry, access to Steveston Harbour ensures the continued success of our fleet and B.C.’s seafood industry in both the local and global markets,” Gusto said.
There are 45 seafood businesses located at the Steveston Harbour.
Since 2015, the Steveston Harbour Authority has been imposing a fee of two to three per cent on most services to raise money, and the board of directors further allocated $330,000 last year towards dredging.
Gusto spoke to Richmond city council last June outlining concerns about sediment buildup and cautioned it could soon become a safety issue.
“Reliable harbour access is vital for fishers and Steveston’s rich community of maritime businesses,” said Kelly Greene, Richmond-Steveston MLA, on behalf of Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. She made the funding announcement on Monday at the Steveston Harbour.
Between 22 million and 45 million kilograms of seafood is offloaded every year at the Steveston Harbour, supporting thousands of jobs in the fishing industry, and benefiting tourism in Steveston Village.