Kamloops mayor calls for provincial, federal support to halt Westsyde erosion

Land cracks, falls into river

Kamloops Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson is calling for federal and provincial support to tackle river erosion that has damaged a number of Westsyde properties.

Wendy Robertson, a resident who’s owned a farm in Westsyde on the North Thompson River for about 30 years, estimated she’s lost at least six acres of her 14.7-acre property.

“It has got worse, just since we noticed that the cracks are getting way bigger,” Robertson said.

“We’re just losing more ground all the time and I don’t know what to do about it.”

Robertson said she used to be able to grow hay on the now collapsed river bank, which she said destroyed half of her hay field and further threatened three historic grave sites on her property.

She said she still pays tax on 14.7 acres, despite a significant amount of that land being lost to the river.

Hamer-Jackson said he wants to be proactive rather than reactive, and he is calling for support from “all levels of government."

“I think I need to work on getting all levels of government to work to be proactive and there's funding. There’s different funding levels,” Hamer-Jackson said.

“The federal government, provincial government, DFO, Ministry of Forests, First Nations, everybody involved, I think we need to look at it proactively instead of putting a band-aid on it.”

Hamer-Jackson said he wasn’t sure what would have to be done to stop the river from eating property, but said putting in rip-rap would likely be involved.

A nearby property owner, Gerd Dessau, who helps with work on Robertson’s farm, said nearby clear cutting has caused a build up of silt and gravel on the opposing side of the river, pushing it towards Robertson’s property.

“There's so much silt coming down from all the clear cuts up there and creeks and et cetera, et cetera, and it hits the river and then the river takes it down and builds it up somewhere,” said Dessau.

“You can’t just stick your head in the sand and ignore it forever. You say, ‘Nature is going to do its thing’ — well, we've destroyed nature by putting them on cut blocks up there.”

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