ENDERBY - The times are changing on the shores of the Shuswap River.
Where paddlewheel boats once docked in the early 1900s, tubers, kayakers and Stand-Up Paddle boarders now make their way into the water, and the City of Enderby wants to make things a little safer, and more modern for them.
“There’s a few hazards with stuff left over from 100 to 150 years ago,” Mayor Greg McCune says.
Rebar and pilings sticking out of the water from old docks are among the main concerns, he says. Around $50,000 will be used to improve safety at the hand launch area, including new concrete paths and a smoother grade down to the water.
“It’s so popular to float the Shuswap River, we have to acknowledge that and make it better,” he says
He says the artifacts harken to the city’s past, when there was considerable industry on the banks of the Shuswap River.
“If you scuba dive there, you can still find china,” he says, adding it probably came from old dinner ships traversing the river.
Naomi Fournier, the curator of the Enderby and District Museum and Archives, says the 1900s were a busy time for the riverside community. There was a flour mill, sawmill, and brickyard located along the river, and goods were transported by paddlewheel boat before the railway was built. It's no surprise that quite a few items went overboard, she says.
Old wagon wheels have been pulled out of the river, she says, and the museum has a collection of old bottles collected from the river banks.
“I think it was treated a bit like a garbage dump,” Fournier says of the river. “It’s always interesting to find what turns up.”
It’s not the first time relics of the past have turned up in unusual places. A few years ago during road construction at Mill Avenue and Maud Street, the remnants of the old King Edward Hotel — which burned down in the mid-1900s — were unearthed.
“They were digging up bedsprings and bed frames,” Fournier says. “It appears they just dug a big hole at the time, dumped everything from the hotel in it, and filled it back up again.”
That kind of thing likely wouldn’t fly today, and the City of Enderby is actually making a point of ensuring today’s rubbish does not become tomorrow’s problem, particularly when it comes to illegal dumping and littering in the Shuswap River.
The city recently rolled out a new illegal dumping reporting system, and has also called on the public to help keep the Shuswap River clean and beautiful for years to come after a higher than usual amount of litter was found this year.
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