Council wants a conversation about riverbank camping

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been invited to talk to Kitimat Council, to discuss the waste left behind by riverbank campers.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been invited to talk to Kitimat Council, to discuss the waste left behind by riverbank campers, as well as the increased usage of the riverbank during construction projects. The motion was put forward by Mary Murphy, who sits on the Leisure Services Committee, and said comments and questions on this issue were being brought to them.

“There were citizens that were raising concerns about it,” said Murphy.

She remembers seeing the riverbank completely packed with people in years past which isn’t the case so much anymore, she said, but she knows there are many people setting up campers and tents along the river today.

Ideas heard at the committee include gating off access to the riverbank, which Murphy knows could not happen due to the risk to the public.

“If anybody gets hurt on the riverbank and you’re preventing any type of rescue from the area you could be sued,” she said. “We can’t kick them off, it’s not our property, so the only way to go about it is for Fisheries to monitor it properly.”

Murphy said something to consider is the work done by a local woman, Vivian Douglas, who years ago received permission from Kitimat Council to collect garbage at the riverbanks, and charge campers $10 a day for that service.

“Nobody seemed to have a problem paying to have their garbage removed,” said Murphy.

Murphy’s motion did pass, so council is waiting to hear a response from Fisheries and Oceans.

“We just want to make sure the riverbank is kept clean and safe, and that they’re not putting anything into the river,” said Murphy.