A solution to B2B

Is dredging really a suitable alternative to dike works?

Dear Editor

In last week’s Golden Star every candidate for Council opposed to the B2B project suggested that dredging alone is the solution to minimising the flooding risk. The Town has published on their website two documents which identify that this understanding is incorrect and that both upgrading the dike and ongoing dredging will be required.

Quoting from the hydrological engineer’s report:

“… dredging work has a generally minor impact on upstream flood levels in the low dike section and does not eliminate the need to raise the dike.”  “…. Any mass over-excavation would soon fill in as it would just be a large trap. Hence bar excavations, when conditions dictate, is expected to be the ongoing practice to minimize the increase in downstream flood levels and prevent greater deposition from extending farther upstream to affect flood levels in the area between the bridges.”

From: “Options for Proceeding with Kicking Horse River Dyke Upgrade (Bridge to Bridge) Project”

Dredging vs. Dike Raising is not the simple either / or option it is being portrayed to be by those candidates opposed to the project and the “Say No to B2B” group.

The above document and the document “2012 Update Assessment of Sedimentation on The Kicking Horse River, Town of Golden” clearly:

Explain why dredging does not eliminate the need for dike works.

Explain why dredging of the fast flowing channel through town is not required or effective due to minimal accumulation in this area.

Demonstrate that the Town has a comprehensive and well-articulated plan for dredging. Explain the monitoring program that is in place to identify when dredging is required.

Explain the restrictions placed on the Town by senior levels of government with respect to dredging.

The “Say No to B2B” group have also suggested that dredging can be paid for by selling the gravel extracted. These documents make clear that BC Environment and DFO have stipulated that excavated gravel must not be sold and cannot be a source of revenue to the Town. This is therefore not an option. Those opposed to B2B who suggest that dredging alone is the solution to mitigating Golden’s flooding risk have either not read these documents or are willing to ignore the conclusions of the professional engineers that produced them. Either inference causes me concern.

There are many legitimate reasons that B2B should be critically considered including affordability, timing, and alignment with the Town’s identified priority action plan versus risk mitigation and improvement of area. However, it is time that those opposed to B2B stop suggesting dredging alone is an alternative to dike works. To continue using this argument is a cynical misrepresentation of facts that we too often see in Federal and Provincial politics. I would like to see these tactics kept out of our local politics.


Julian England