Thank you for your recent letter regarding your concern about the timing, scale and extent of the Vedder River gravel removal project proposed for this summer in Chilliwack.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) is managing the project to address debris resulting from the November 2021 atmospheric river events in the province. The Ministry of Forests (MOF) is responsible for review and consideration of that application under the Water Sustainability Act (WSA)
On May 12, 2023, the MOF received a WSA Change Approval application from ENV for the removal of gravel from the Vedder River and the Vedder Canal. The MOF technical staff began reviewing the application to determine if the proposed works warranted an approval. ENV has subsequently decided to defer the proposed gravel removal until 2024. MOF technical staff are continuing their review of the application with the revised schedule and multiple options are being considered including reduction of the extraction amount and longer-term flood mitigation approaches for the system.
I appreciate your communication with us and recognize that the Vedder River Management Area is of high interest to many different groups. Some of these interests, such as fisheries and flood management, inherently have conflict potential. Ministry staff review the best available science provided by appropriately qualified professionals to make a decision on appropriate management of the resources. In this process, we always look for opportunities to address risks to public safety while avoiding, minimizing and mitigating risks to the aquatic environment.
I am confident that we share common interests for exceptional stewardship of our natural resources.
If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Malissa Smith, Section Head, Stream Management, by email at Malissa.Smith@gov.bc.ca.
Again, thank you for writing and sharing your concerns.
Minister of Forests