Shoreline cleanup of Katzie Slough on Saturday

Fraser River is a dump, says Watershed Watch paddler

Lina Azeez said the Fraser River from Hope to Jericho Beach literally stunk – from the frequent smell of agricultural runoff bringing fertilizer into the river

The Great Canadian Shoreline cleanup this Saturday will have special significance to Lina Azeez.

The member of the Watershed Watch Salmon Society will be joining volunteers pulling chairs and shopping carts out of Katzie Slough.

But after a summertime paddle of the entire length of the Fraser River, her thoughts will be on the bigger picture.

Azeez joined a group that put a canoe into the headwaters of the Fraser near Mount Robson, where the newborn river is smaller, teal in colour, and as fresh as melting ice.

From July 18 to Aug. 10, the group navigated the entire Fraser, by canoe and raft.

“The Fraser Canyon was incredibly stunning,” she said. “Around every bend was a new perspective.”

Gold rush cabins are still there, “stuck in time,” she said.

But the romance soon faded.

“It was depressing paddling through the Lower Mainland,” she said.

The stretch from Hope to Jericho Beach literally stunk – from the frequent smell of agricultural runoff bringing fertilizer into the river, and the sewage treatment plant in Abbotsford.

And the river is a dump, she said, with boats rusting away along the shoreline – including the giant relic of a B.C. ferry in Mission.

“It’s like a cemetery for where boats go to die.”

There are also abandoned mills and industrial facilities on the shore in various states of decay.

In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, she said there is a lack of residential or commercial development on the Fraser shore, with few access points for residents.

“We should be celebrating the river more,” she asserts.

The cleanup volunteers will meet on Saturday at Meadowtown Mall parking lot, near Jungle Jac’s play centre at 10 a.m., and work until noon.

They will be among tens of thousands of Canadians working to get rid of shoreline litter, led by the Vancouver Aquarium and World Wildlife Fund.

“We’re trying to raise awareness of Katzie Slough. People think it’s just a ditch, and think they can dump stuff in there,” said Azeez.

“It’s actually a waterway, and not a ditch.”

She said shopping carts and chairs are obviously out of place in the wild, but just as insidious are cigarette butts and Styrofoam, which can be toxic, and six-pack rings that bind wildlife.

Timo Hess of Pitt Meadows is one of the key organizers of the event, and as a member of the Katzie Slough Restoration Project. Last year, members of the group did a similar cleanup event, and stacked a big pile of garbage.

The cleanup is important for the health of the waterway, but also for the message it sends to the public, said Azeez.

“I would like to see us come to the point where we don’t need to do a shoreline cleanup, because everyone already realizes the importance of our waterways.”

 

Just Posted

Junior hockey back, as Flames host exhibition

Ice Hawks visit Maple Ridge on Aug. 23

Resident asks Maple Ridge council to skip UBCM reception

Doesn’t want politicians to attend China-sponsored event

The scenic route through Maple Ridge

Winding Fern Crescent offers relaxing views

Bulldogs defeat Ridge Meadows Royals

Exhibition game proved to be challenging for both teams

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Border crossings across Lower Mainland seeing lengthy delays

Sumas, Peace Arch and Surrey-Blaine border crossings seeing long wait times

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Most Read