04/18/2013 08:57 EDT | Updated 06/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Fraser River dredging to start in June

After years of lobbying by local business owners, dredging of the Fraser River channels that run through Ladner and Steveston is slated to begin this summer.

"We have all the money in hand, all the approvals, nothing's standing in the way," said Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.

Local governments in Delta and Richmond, as well as the province and Port Metro Vancouver, committed $10 million in funding last December.

A request for proposal to begin the work was issued earlier this month, with a goal of starting the dredging in June, Delta city staff told council on Monday.

Sediment has been building up over the past two decades, and businesses along the water say it's hindering their use of the river.

"Boat launching ramps become blocked, fish boats can't unload... floating homes [are] going aground," said Michael Owen, a marina owner in Ladner.

Mayor Jackson says once the dredging is done, there will also be a focus on maintaining the channels.

"We certainly don't want to be faced with this dilemma again as we go into the future, so it's like good housekeeping, it's good maintenance," she said.

The Port of Metro Vancouver says there are more than 650,000 cubic metres of sediment that needs to be removed from the channels.