REPORTING · 8th January 2013
During Kitimat City Council’s Budget Meetings on December 12th, Councillor Phil Germuth brought up the changes at Radley Park, but it started with the topic of Riverbank Camping.
“Obviously, not a lot of money is going in there right now. A study was done two years ago about the possible campsites and such. Looking at this, there is not a lot going to be done. If we’re going to move further and eventually get rid of some riverbank camping and putting some people in camp sites, I guess that’s up to us for budget and try to come back for some recommendations for you,” said Germuth.
Martin Gould, Head of Leisure Services in Kitimat stated in order for them to get rid of Riverbank Camping, or at least make some money from it was to put a gate on the roads and prevent campers to access it. He expressed Council made the decision to allow this a long time ago and it is perpetuated by maintaining the roads to those locations and they are not going to be able to get rid of it.
He explained Radley Park gets annual improvement money for rebuilding shelters. They want to put a road into the backside of the park. This will require a survey. Flags have been put up marking the route they wish to use.
Councillor Phil Germuth stated there is a time of year when the riverbank could be reinforced to keep the erosion away. He suggested if they do not do something soon, the camp could be eaten away.
Gould stated the hydrologist was back this year and the hydrologist informed them the river has been straightened up, but there is still some trouble. Gould explained the only way they could armour the river bank is with the blessing of fisheries and fisheries is dead set against it.
Another problem which could arise from arming the river is it could change the river direction and take water away from the District intakes. He stated it could wash out the Alcan water intakes. Gould told Council the Hydrologist told them they are going to have to wait for the river to straighten itself out.
Gould did say there was a method for them to arm the river and get around fisheries. It has a cost of $800,000. He suggested Council just make the arrangements to the campground
Feldhoff suggested there might be a benefit to bringing back the Radley Park Erosion plan to Council to put it into context. He wanted to know what has been accomplished with the money which was put into Radley Park for 2012.
Gould explained they were putting money away for the renovation of the park for the future once the road has been surveyed. He told Council the surveyors will be coming in as soon as the snow is gone.
The improved campsites will include more power sites.
Councillor Mary Murphy agreed with Feldhoff on revisiting the erosion report as well as the campsites. She mentioned she had already received a report which she had requested from Gould and posted on Facebook concerning the campgrounds.
“It was very well received and fishermen who spend their time on the river have stated the river has straightened out. That report that you gave me was probably very accurate,” said Murphy.
We asked Gould for a copy of this report which was issued at the beginning of November. The report started with the history of the park erosion began in 1992 and 93 when the lower access road was washed away. The road was along the riverbed and could not be replaced due to salmon spawning areas. A large island which was in front of the park was reduced in size during the 90s as well. A total of 9 campsites have been lost due to the erosion.
“After receiving the report from Northwest Hydraulic Consultants a number of options were reviewed and discussed. The Administration met with Fisheries and the Haisla representative and the idea of armouring the riverbank was discussed. This option was not supported at the time by either Fisheries or the Haisla and was ultimately rejected by the Municipality for a number of reasons,” read the report.
The reasons were that Radley Park is a natural flood plain, it would affect the fish spawning grounds, it would have unknown consequences upon the riverbanks and water access, the District was unsure how the water intake would be affected and the District would be liable for any damages. A log jam was removed to try and coax the river to the left hand side. Fortunately, the erosion looks to have run its course.
“The river course has straightened significantly since 2007, meaning that there is really only one area to the south of the park which may be affected by the river i.e. there are another 3 -5 campsites which may be lost if the river chooses to move in that direction. Unless the Kitimat river chooses to make a sharp right turn into the heart of the park it is unlikely additional large amounts of Riverbank will be lost in the section that has already been effected by the river course change. The river bank has eroded to the point where the smaller soft fill materials have been lost and the river is now encountering larger course material that should provide resistance to the river making further erosion in these areas more difficult. The flow in the arm beside Radley Park is slowly being reduced as the island in front of the park continues to grow in size and material build up in front of the arm running beside Radley Park,” read the report.
Under reserves, Steve Christiansen, Municipal Treasurer stated there is $800,000 set up in a reserve for park improvements or armouring. “If the river straightens out, you have money for development,” said Christiansen.
Gould stated it costs $13,022 to run Hirsch Creek. Radley park will cost $59,000 to operate.
Comment by CEM on 24th January 2013
Where does the money go if it costs over $18,000 to keep Hirsch Creek up ? I understand there was some work done on the picnic shelter.Maybe for one year it cost that. Has any of the councillors and Mayor taken a walk through there lately ? I challenge any of them to sit down at any of the picnic tables covered with moss. They are a mess. Trees need to be cleaned up so one doesn't feel so closed in. Branches need to cleaned up to make the area more airy. Does anyone play baseball there anymore ? If they are cutting the grass for baseball and no one uses it ....maybe the District should turn it into a campground. Just a thought.