Canal in central Fresno filled with waste, city and irrigation district working on long term solution

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FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – Garbage littered a canal in downtown Fresno that carries clean water and water for farmers.

There is also a homeless camp nearby and the neighbors are now sharing their concerns.

“It’s amazing what people throw in there,” said Joyce Friend, who lives near the canal along McKinley Avenue between Cedar and Millbrook Avenues.

The canal contains very little water, but it is filled with garbage.

Next to the canal is a homeless camp which backs onto the houses in the area.

Neighbors say they don’t have bad will towards homeless people, they’re just worried about whatever goes with it.

“I don’t want them being forced because they obviously have nowhere to go, but try to be more careful with your things,” Faith Bridges said.

Area council member Nelson Esparza said he lives right next to the settlements and understands the frustration.

“We hear you all,” Esparza said.

Esparza said the district, which is in central Fresno, faces canals, railroads and highways – all places he says are suitable for homeless settlements.

“Although we are sheltering a record number of people, we have also seen the homeless population increase at a record rate,” said Esparza.

The Fresno Irrigation District manages the canals and Adam Claes, the deputy general manager, said this particular area is a hot spot.

He said waste is a concern as the canals are used to bring drinking water and water from producers.

With a limited budget and staff, Claes said it was difficult to keep up with the cleanup efforts. Claes said FID was working with the City of Fresno to find a long-term solution to keep the canals clean.

“I don’t blame anyone for calling and complaining because it’s unacceptable,” Mayor Jerry Dyer said.

Dyer said that while the cleanup was underway across town, getting to all will take time.

The Thursday morning crews were offering services and starting to camp on East Tyler Avenue near Cedar Ave. not far from the McKinley Canal.

Not all people living in the camps accept the services or a place to stay, some end up migrating to another place.

“These are the people who are going to present us the most challenges and we just hope to minimize the number of those people in our community,” said Dyer.

Council member Esparza said the city will give Fresno Irrigation District a chance to clean up this waste since it is their jurisdiction, but if they don’t respond or are timely about it, the city ​​will move.

Esparza would not have details on the schedule the city gives to the irrigation district, but said the area will be cleaned up “very soon”.

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