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October 28, 2017 4:34 am

River Bank Erosion Evident on Nechako and Fraser

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 3:59 AM

bank erosion

Cottonwoods have tumbled into the Nechako as the River  scours   the bank – photo  250News

Prince George, B.C.- As the spring freshet makes its presence known on the two rivers in Prince George, bank erosion has become evident.

A number of huge Cottonwood trees in Cottonwood Island Park, have already tumbled over into the Nechako River, as the ground holding their root systems has been washed away.

Upstream from Cottonwood Island Park, at Wilson Park, the City of Prince George has taken measures to shore up the bank near the City’s water (PW605) intake infrastructure. “We don’t want any further impacts in that area” says Gina Layte Liston, the Acting Director of Public Works.

“At Wilson Park in the past year, we have actually done a major capital expenditure project there” says Layte-Liston. “That erosion project has been completed in the most part, but that is where our focus has been from a capital expenditure point of view.” The City spent just under $1.2 million dollars last year to install about 350 lineal metres of slope erosion protection below the well pump station. That station supplies water to the West Bowl, UNBC, University Heights and upper College Heights.

There is another issue that has been brought to the attention of Prince George City Council. Residents in the Lansdowne area have expressed concerns about bank erosion along the Fraser River. “They expressed concerns about erosion that was affecting their property directly” says Layte-Liston. The City is now looking at develping a local area service agreement that would assist those property owners in shoring up the bank. There are about 10 properties which have frontage on the Fraser, but Layte- Liston says the Local Area Service would include several other properties in the area. The Local Area service agreement would be similar in nature to those developed in neighbourhoods where sewer systems have been installed and the property owners pay a share of the overall cost either in a lump sum or, over time.

While the erosion occurring at Cottonwood Island Park is a concern, Layte- Liston says the focus right now is on how residential property owners in the Lansdowne area can be assisted “Usually when you are talking about any kind of erosion, it usually means armoring the river banks”.

There is no estimate of what the improvements to the Lansdowne properties would cost.bankerosion2

Still, with the Heritage Trail system in Cottonwood Island Park used by many residents,   she says those trail users will need to exercise caution as it is difficult to see the undermining effects the Nechako may have had on the bank. “There is no question that any time you have a river going by that we have been having that erosion occur so what’s been happening is we’ve been looking at what assessments need to be done to the river trail but people like to use that and like to access that.” She says the City is not looking at closing the trails right now, but adds. “The public needs to be cautious anytime they are around those trails especially when they are along the river.”


Too bad we don’t have photos of the river banks from a hundred years ago. I imagine that we’ve lost a lot of river bank in that time. Old survey maps might help in that.
As the river banks erode, a lot of that material gets deposited close by, making navigation more difficult.
Other places in the world place sloping concrete walls or rock and mortar walls to contain the water and prevent erosion. I guess here, we’re too esthetically concerned to do what really works.

The City has no plan in place to stop the erosion of Cottonwood Park. They wanted to put in a Dyke between River Road, and the Park, and then just let the river take away the park.

The City needs to work with the Federal Government, and Provincial Government to establish a program to stop this erosion on both sides of the Nechako, and at Landsdowne area.

You will notice that they did not hesitate to spend big money ($1.2 Million) to do erosion work to protect their pump station. However they are somewhat slower when it comes to protecting Parks, or peoples homes.

If Vancouver had this type of attitude Stanley Park would have been washed away years ago.

There are programs available to provide funding for erosion, and I doubt if it is necessary to have the people in the effected areas pay a part of the erosion cost.

In my opinion the erosion is a consequence of neglect by the City and Province over the years, as they basically sat back and let it take place, and did nothing to stop it.

This all dovetails into the thinking from Victoria that we are a bunch of rubes in the North, and they just throw us a few banana’s from time to time to keep us quiet.

Do the same people – Vancouver investors – not own the whole lot of trailer parks off of Landsdowne? Are they looking for free money from the public purse? Many of the units are rental?

Surely if the properties were bought in the past 8 years one would think that an investor such as this would be aware of river front property. Buyer beware.

According to the photos in their presentation at city hall, it appears there are only about 10 trailers along the river front in a (1100 metres) 3575 foot strip. ALL landowners in the area were not asked or informed about this.

City council should not be aiding again another private property owner to pick the pockets of the tax payers. First a developer wanting the public purse to be picked–and now a private property owner?

Half a dozen mobile homes in a privately owned mobile home park collecting rent off these tenants and the units are situated on the river front–and not hanging over the bank. This park was built in 1965 and those spaces have been occupied by mobile homes for 50 years–and nary a one has taken a tumble into the mighty Fraser river.

The recent report states danger on LANSDOWNE road which is HUNDREDS of FEET from that river front—the entire length–leading to the Sewage Treatment plant. The SPCA is hundreds of feet further across LANSDOWNE–no potential danger there.

The PUBLIC is NOT responsible for the Maintenance of privately owned property—and I find it difficult to believe this MAYOR and Council are of the opinion the TAXPAYERS should be responsible for repairs and maintenance.

Enough is enough.

All this wouldn’t be a concern if it had of been dealt with through the cold winter months. During lower water gravel bars could have been removed with equipment with minimal impact to the environment as well as minimal cost to the tax payers allowing spring run off to flow uninterruptedly.

The silt that has been allowed to collect on both sides of the Fraser, and on the South side of the Nechako and also the middle of the Fraser from the Railway bridge over the years has forced the water closer to the West side of the Fraser River, and both sides of the Nechako. These rivers have been silting up for many years. In fact the main channel for the Nechako was on the South side, and is now on the North side.

The Federal and Provincial Governments are responsible for the rivers, and in my opinion are responsible for this erosion. They have never done anything to alleviate it. CN Rail should be responsible for the silting around their railway bridge.

Seems we have money for Wood Innovation Buildings, that serve no useful purpose, and also to build airport runways for $35 Million dollars that are never used, however we have no money to keep our parks and part of the City from falling into the rivers.

My grandmother come here in 1914, some homes where washed away way back then in the cottonwood park area.

The river changing course is a natural event. The only way to solve the problem is to dredge the river every so often. Federal fisheries will not allow that so any expense should be theirs.

Think it is bad now wait till the rest of the Nechako canyon sloughs into its waterways. Take a drive up north Nechako and see for yourselves, it is only a matter of time. Then what?
Good idea “Jack son” dredging, fisheries won’t allow it because it may kill a salmon fry or a speckled salamander, But they will allow a pipe line of crude oil to run through salmon tributaries with the potential to wipe out and kill millions of fry and devastate rivers and streams for decades. Then what?

Erosion on a riverbank? Shocking. Hey can people in college heights put in for relief assistance because the clay is knocking the retaining walls over up there?

Just in case people are confused. No individual property owners have title to any of the immediate river bank.
That is, and always was owned by the crown! So if remediation and or rehabilitation is done with public money it is money being spent to protect crown land

They dredge the Fraser river in the lower mainland for floating homes and all marine traffic. Fish habitat really doesn’t mean much depending on who or what benefits from dredging.

Oh good idea dredge and who do you think will pay for that? The money Fairies ,, You and for Gods sake …

gwf, do you know who pays for all the dredging that protects all the multi million dollar homes and marinas that are floating on the shores of the Lower Fraser river?

Hey gwf, Guess what, if you will get me the permits I will dredge it for FREE — providing I get to keep all of the dredged material and GOLD at no charge.The area in mention is in a no staking zone and as others have noted DFO has their fingers in the pot as well. What do ya say .

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