REPORTING · 26th July 2011
The Kitimat River was a key topic at Council on Monday, July 18th. It began with a report delivered by administration to Council on Raddley Park. Since 2005, 12 campsites have been lost because of the river’s changing course.
The report offered 7 suggestions to Council, each with their own pros and cons. Armour 600 metres of the right bank to bank full level using rock riprap, armour 600 metres of right bank with a combination of gabion baskets on the bank and riprap rock as a toe apron, 300 metres of rock connected to right bridge abutment, an armoured 600 metre long dike, a 600 metre gravel dike, 600 metres of passive riprap, or do nothing.
A motion was made to receive the report for information and provide a copy to Jack Oviatt, who brought his concerns to Council years ago representing the Gyro Club. Councillor Mario Feldhoff stated they were looking at option 6, the passive riprap which was recommended Oviatt as he used on his own property.
This motion was carried. Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated she informed Oviatt this would be on the agenda.
Next came a report on Drift boat access sites along the Kitimat River. A memo to council recommended the drift boat access sites which were in the lower part of the Kitimat river. A site at Cablecar would be difficult to maintain because of the shifting river. Councillor Randy Halyk made a motion that the lower access including cable car be maintained as required to afford good access to the river.
“I think it’s very important for the community to maintain access to the river. A part of the tourism potential of Kitimat is all about fishing. It’s about fishing on the river. I’m a fisherman and I know there is a lot of other fishermen in town and when we do go down those alleyways, normally they are mud holes and potholes and so on. I think that if we actually maintained them on a regular basis so there are no mud holes, maybe a little gravel now and again, I think we would be in a position to have more people come down to our river, do a little more fishing, enjoy it a little better and it would help the whole community,” said Halyk.
Councillor Corinne Scott pointed out there was another report coming up on fishing and roads and thought all these roads were critical for access to the river and promoted tourism in the community.
Goffinet wanted to know about the current maintenance, which was the recommendation. Halyk said there was virtually no maintenance on these roads when all they need is an occasional grading. He was asking for these roads to be maintained so the roads could be accessed.
Feldhoff moved an amendment to write the Regional District to make improvements to two of the bridge sites to allow drift boat access. Halyk suggested writing Terrace to get involved in this as there were Terrace Guides who make use of those accesses.
Scott made a motion to include the Big Spruce Road with this. Councillor Bob Corless pointed out some of these roads are underwater at times of the year. He wanted to know when they graded them and when.
Halyk told Council he did a straw pole talking to the fishermen. They were concerned with river access and the roads which were not taken care of. There was also a problem with garbage but a gentleman was doing a good job there for the last two years. They were happy with everything else the District was doing.
Feldhoff stated they were about to have a debate on roads so they should focus on the roads later on in the meeting. The motion was called and carried.
Halyk then made a motion to write the City of Terrace and promote drift boat access at the Crown Zellerbach River Bridge and the Kitimat River Bridge. He explained Terrace Guides take their customers to Kitimat if the Skeena River is blown out.
Feldhoff was opposed because the Regional District includes Terrace, Thornhill and Lakeelse Lake. Gottschling agreed with the motion because it would benefit Terrace. Corless said this was a can of worms as not all fishermen had drift boats and they were offended by the number of drift boats on the river. “I think we are getting way overboard with this thing about fishing,” said Corless.
Halyk explained the point of the motion was to work together with Terrace to encourage tourism within the valley. He added the Kitimat River was one of the few rivers which is drift boat friendly. Monaghan called the amendment and it failed.
The main motion was called and carried.
The next report was in regards to riverbank camping along the lower dike. The report contained the history of attempts to have a camping fee for the campers which take to the riverside.
A motion was made: “That Controlled riverbank camping at the giant spruce and Kitimat Outfall areas, through the development of campsites with a fee for services or the development of an un-patrolled, undeveloped wilderness area be considered as phase one of a multi phased project,” said Halyk.
Feldhoff made an amendment to put off the decision to further the project go to the 2012 budget. The amendment was carried followed by the motion.
The final report in relation to fishing concerned the state of roads in Kitimat. As the report dealt with several roads, Feldhoff wished to divide the question and do the roads one at a time. His motion failed. “I look forward to the well worded motion and the many amendments,” Feldhoff joked.
Halyk moved all the roads listed in the report be maintained to the best of the District’s ability to provide river access. The roads listed were Raddley park, the Big Spruce Road, the Cable Car Dike Road, the Cable Car back Road and the Dike Road.
Councillor Corless said he was opposed to the motion because regardless of the road condition, people are still able to find the river. Feldhoff on the other hand expressed there was a desire to have these roads maintained and they could do a better job on the dike road. He added they could afford it and make improvements to the roads.
Scott said Kitimat is a place where people come to fish. She could not understand how a fifth wheel can get down the roads in one piece. Monaghan suggested asking the administration to come back with the information on the roads.
Feldhoff made a tabling motion. Halyk stated they are at the point they need to be with the roads and their maintenance issues which need to be resolved. He pointed out the Cablecar back road was the only unpaved road in Cablecar. He was told it was too expensive to pave. The contractor on the other hand improved the road while he was working on the other roads so he could have a shorter route to take the blacktop to the dump.
Municipal Manager Ron Poole said this was a good idea because every time there is a change in service, there is a cost and he would like to find out what the cost is. Corless pointed out there is a Christmas party at the Big Spruce on December 23rd with two motor homes. If they can find a way down then, there is a way down there in the summer.
The tabling motion was called and carried. This brought an end to the reports which were delivered to Council on fishing on the river.
Radley Park Driftboat Access
Comment by Daniel Carter on 26th July 2011
I speak as a fisherman and driftboat owner and I do use the Radley Park Access to retrieve my boat. I also adhere strictly to the speed limit or lower as there are many recreational campers and many with children that also use this road to walk on and pedal their bicycles. There are a good number of guides and fishermen that well exceed the speed limit in a rush to get their gear and clients. I would like to continue to use this access in years to come but I fear that if the speeding continues, we will all lose this privilege. May this serve as a reminder to those that use this park as access.