District of Squamish receives $4-million grant for Downtown flood protection improvements

The District has been successful in receiving a grant in the amount of $4,049,878 under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Rural and Northern Communities by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia. The funding is for the Xwu'nekw Park Sea Dike along the Mamquam Blind Channel.  The funding will allow for the construction of 200-metres of new sea dike that will upgrade the shoreline and improve coastal flood protection for Downtown Squamish. 

"This is incredible news for all of Squamish as we proactively prepare for and undertake climate change adaptation," says District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. "This funding is critical to enable us to complete shoreline upgrades and diking infrastructure that will address current anticipated sea level rise, and offer flood protection to all of Downtown Squamish. We wish to thank our federal and provincial government partners for these funds that will help us work towards our goal of protecting our community.”

Identified as the highest priority within the District's Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan, the new sea dike will be integrated within the Xwu’nekw waterfront park. The project will be built to accommodate a projected one-metre of sea level rise by 2100, and will incorporate environmental enhancement features to support the marine habitat. The District is engaging with marine user groups, environmental organizations and Squamish Nation in the project's design.

Two initial design concepts for the sea wall and plans for interim park improvements at Xwu'nekw Park  have been developed. The public is invited to submit feedback on the proposed options by completing a community survey, open through July 14. The work is expected to be complete by 2021.

Fast Facts: 

  • Xwu’nekw Park and the surrounding area have a rich history dating back to when the Squamish Nation used the west side of the Mamquam Blind Channel for beaching large ocean-going canoes. 
  • The name ‘Xwu’nekw’ means ‘where large canoes are beached’ in the Squamish Nation language. 
  • The land is presently utilized for a variety of uses including the Xwu’nekw Canoe Shelter used for restoration of canoes by Squamish Nation, Squamish Paddling Club Storage and open space uses such as slacklines.
  • Xwu’nekw Park is surrounded by ongoing and future land development including the Sirocco development and the Waterfront Landing pedestrian bridge.
  • The District's Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan identifies the construction of a new sea dike as a priority in order to meet Provincial standards for protecting the community from coastal flood hazards.  
  • The total cost of this project is estimated at $5-million. The project will be funded primarily through grant funding with the remainder funded by the municipal budget. 

To learn more about the project and view the dike concepts and options, visit squamish.ca/xwunekw-park-sea-dike.

July 3, 2020

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