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COMMENTARY · 15th October 2012
Walter McFarlane
I have stated twice now, I hate to see good ideas get thrown away. During the last couple of weeks, as a part of the articles I’m writing for my fifth anniversary working for this site, I wrote about the Garbage Bylaw and the Winter Festival.

The Radley Park Erosion is one of those hot topics which tends to come up every year. Since 2006, it has been a yearly occurrence to hear about how campsites washed away during the winter and summer months as the Kitimat River encroaches on the camp grounds.

At one time, there was a plan to try and save the park from the encroaching river. It began with Jack Oviatt. Oviatt appeared before Council in April of 2008 and asked the Council of the day to save the park, which was built by many community founders and cared for by the Gyro Club.

“In my mind, this park is a heritage site of great historical significance to Kitimat. It has been built and left in the hands of the district of Kitimat recreational department to maintain and protect. Not just for the Gyro Club but for the citizens of Kitimat and the tourists around the country. Our district has not done their job and now the park is in eminent danger of being washed away,” said Oviatt in 2008.

He suggested the solution: Passive Riprap. He offered the City his services and volunteered $10,000 of time and equipment to fix the problem. During the budget of the same year, $475,000 was put aside for river control.

In September of 2008, Council was told one way to fix the river might be to remove several log jams. They were removed. Armouring was still recommended by Council. Later in the month, Councillor Mario Feldhoff would make a motion for Administration to form an action plan.

In March of 2009, Council was given an update after Feldhoff wanted to know why the river was not armoured yet. A part of the problem with fixing the river was it might leave the city’s water intake high and dry.

A second problem was anything they do to try and armour the river would cause an environmental impact assessment. The only option would be to place the armour 300 metres into the park and let the river armour itself… if it ever got there.

Oviatt returned to Council in 2009 to ask them why the park was not protected. He suggested the district use self-launching rocks to stop the erosion explaining it was not intrusive on fish habitat.

During the budgeting of 2009, money set aside for the park was borrowed from the fund to go to different projects. Some went to keep the Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club in business, further money went into bringing down the taxes.

Finally, in September of 2009, the last of the funding for Radley Park erosion was given over to the Animal Shelter. The plan to armour the park failed. However, while Campsites have continued to be lost to the river, there has been some good news.

In November of 2011, a Facelift was proposed for the park which would increase the number of campsites. In addition, the District of Kitimat Website reports they are starting a 5 year improvement plan to the park.

Further reading

The original presentation to Council: April 2008
http://www.kitimatdaily.ca/cgi-bin/show_articles.cgi?ID=879&TOPIC=0

Update: September 2008
http://www.kitimatdaily.ca/cgi-bin/show_articles.cgi?ID=1039&TOPIC=0

Action Plan Motion: September 2008
http://www.kitimatdaily.ca/cgi-bin/show_articles.cgi?ID=1073&TOPIC=0

Update: March, 2009
http://www.kitimatdaily.ca/cgi-bin/show_articles.cgi?ID=1349&TOPIC=0

Report to Council: March 2009
http://www.kitimatdaily.ca/cgi-bin/show_articles.cgi?ID=1355&TOPIC=0

Radley Park Facelift: November 2011.
http://www.kitimatdaily.ca/cgi-bin/show_articles.cgi?ID=5382&TOPIC=0
Let it wash away!
Comment by Mike on 16th October 2012
This is the typical attitude coming from District management. The east side of the river had several camp sites but the City just let nature take them over until they were no more. Centennial fountain was not maintained and got to such a state of disrepair that they wanted to remove it and plant flowers. Walkways are so run down that they are being abandoned. Play grounds being removed. Wading pools run down. The Cemetery wasn't maintained until outcry's from the public. Lets just run Kitimat into the ground and there will be less maintenance costs. Savings can then go into funding more GOLDEN severance packages like the $300,000.00 Trafford Hall received. Thanks Mayor and Counsel glad to see my tax dollars being spent so wisely!! What ever happened to Kitimats 50th anniversary project that was to be built commemorating a mile stone for our City? Shame, shame, shame on you council. I guess it would be better to not start any new projects because tax dollars would have to be spent in upkeep and after all we don't want that, do we? Mayor and Counsel open your eyes take an actual walk around our community and see how run down it is getting. Instead of flying to UBCM conferences why don't a few of you use the DOK van and drive to Vancouver and stop and see what all the other communities along the way have done to beautify their communities and parks. I have done this drive several times over the years and it is shameful to realize and see the lack of care and effort that has been placed in making Kitimat appealing to all visitors and residents.