Reducing Boat Speeds on the Vedder River

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Consultation has concluded

A map of Chilliwack highlighting the Vedder River between the Vedder Bridge and the Fraser River.

Thank you for giving us your feedback. Participants supported several options to reduce boat speeds on the Vedder, including applying for speed restrictions, increased signage, and public education. We will continue to advocate for improved boat safety along the Vedder River and work through possible solutions to achieve this goal.

Background:

The Vedder River/Canal is one of Chilliwack's most popular spots to fish, swim, paddle, and spend time on the shoreline.

As more people visit the area, fast boats on the water have created noise and public safety concerns. The Vedder River also feeds into salmon spawning channels, and is next to the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve. Fast moving boats could impact fish habitat and other sensitive wildlife, dykes, and groundwater resources.

The Vedder River/Canal is considered a navigable waterway by Transport Canada and falls under the Federal Navigation Protection Act. We are looking at options to allow everyone to enjoy the river safely, including applying to Transport Canada for a vessel speed restriction of 5 km/h on the Vedder River between the Vedder Bridge and the point where the river meets the Fraser.

A map of Chilliwack highlighting the Vedder River between the Vedder Bridge and the Fraser River.

Thank you for giving us your feedback. Participants supported several options to reduce boat speeds on the Vedder, including applying for speed restrictions, increased signage, and public education. We will continue to advocate for improved boat safety along the Vedder River and work through possible solutions to achieve this goal.

Background:

The Vedder River/Canal is one of Chilliwack's most popular spots to fish, swim, paddle, and spend time on the shoreline.

As more people visit the area, fast boats on the water have created noise and public safety concerns. The Vedder River also feeds into salmon spawning channels, and is next to the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve. Fast moving boats could impact fish habitat and other sensitive wildlife, dykes, and groundwater resources.

The Vedder River/Canal is considered a navigable waterway by Transport Canada and falls under the Federal Navigation Protection Act. We are looking at options to allow everyone to enjoy the river safely, including applying to Transport Canada for a vessel speed restriction of 5 km/h on the Vedder River between the Vedder Bridge and the point where the river meets the Fraser.

CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Please check out our FAQs, and if you still have questions for us, ask them here!

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    Judging by the routine jet boat traffic I have witnessed this summer, fall and winter I am confident that the 5km/h is not being adhered to. When can a ban on motorized boats be anticipated up river of the Keith Wilson Bridge?

    DHK asked 10 months ago

    There is currently no speed restriction on this waterway. Operations staff are working through the application process before submitting to Transport Canada. To find out more about current project status, please contact our Operations Department at operations@chilliwack.com or 604.793.2810. Thanks for asking.

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    Why isn’t there an option of no motorized boats in the survey? Why would we ruin the beauty of our river with signage?

    AmberM asked about 1 year ago

    This is a request to limit the speed of the boats in the waterway to lowest speed limit in the Canadian Navigable Waters Act.    A ban of motorized boat on a waterway is contrary to the Canadian Navigable Waters Act. If the restriction is not adhered to the City can make application for the complete ban. 

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    Given multiple sensitive aquatic species at risk in the Vedder River corridor, no real value in the system as a navigable waterway, and a serious uptick in jetboat traffic, particularly above the canal, why is a petition to close the waterway to boat traffic not being considered by the City of Chilliwack/FVRD, but rather speed restrictionsthat are unlikely to be able to be meaningfully enforced? Have a look at the controversy in the upper Pitt River and at Gill Rd. Densification is happening. Ecological values are our foundation.

    DS asked about 1 year ago

    This is a request to limit the speed of the boats in the waterway to lowest speed limit in the Canadian Navigable Waters Act.    A ban of motorized boat on a waterway is contrary to the Canadian Navigable Waters Act. If the restriction is not adhered to the City can make application for the complete ban. 

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    Is the noise being produced louder than motorcycle or cars traveling on the city streets? Curious how this would be measured and where?

    stevec asked about 1 year ago

    Hello

    "Loud" is used to compare the sounds of the motorized boat to other activates occurring on the Vedder River.

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    Has there been any studies done on the Vedder/Chilliwack river systems suggesting there is an impact on salmon spawning habitat?

    stevec asked about 1 year ago

    The City of Chilliwack hasn't completed studies on the impact of the fast moving boats on spawn fish or within spawning channels.. 

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    Transport Canada has imposed full restrictions on motorized travel in many other navigable waterways in BC. Why is our local government unable or unwilling to lobby our federal representatives for full-measure change at the proper levels, instead of applying an ineffectual half hearted band-aid to the issue??

    JM asked about 1 year ago

    same as pervious;

    This is a request to limit the speed of the boats in the waterway to lowest speed limit in the Canadian Navigable Waters Act.    A ban of motorized boat on a waterway is contrary to the Canadian Navigable Waters Act. If the restriction is not adhered to the City can make application for the complete ban. 

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    What impacts have there been from boats (safety, environmental, or otherwise) and by what measure would they be mitigated by reduced speeds? Is the river being damaged by boats? Have there been close calls/crashes between boaters and other users? Personally, this seems like an issue that shouldn't necessarily be left to public opinion, but to facts.

    Cody.R.Chance asked about 1 year ago

    A few authorities have received concerning comments of fast moving motorized vessels in the narrow waterway(s) lined with people fishing, children playing at the waters edge, non motorized craft drifting in the current and horses with riders fording the shallows. 

    This speed restriction request has received written support from many stakeholders with public input as one part to support the City of Chilliwack application for this restriction.