Eagle Viewing Area / Siyich'em Reserve Dike Master Plan

 

 

Introduction

Between Summer 2019 and Fall 2020, the District of Squamish and Squamish Nation developed a master plan for the Squamish River dike through the Siyích'em Reserve and Eagle Viewing Area, along Government Road.

The Dike Master Plan provides a vision for how the Squamish River dike will be upgraded to address deficiencies and enhance community flood protection. The master plan includes a conceptual design for dike upgrades, a public amenity plan and an implementation plan to advance the project from the master plan stage to design and construction. Further information on the master plan is available below.


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Dike Master Plan: Study Area and Background Information

  • What is the Eagle Viewing Area / Siyích'em Reserve Dike Master Plan?

    The development of the Dike Master Plan involved evaluating options for upgrading the dike protecting Brackendale, Siyich’em Reserve and Garibaldi Estates in accordance with the recently completed Squamish Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan. It also considered non-flood protection challenges and opportunities for the area. 

    The project considered possible dike alignments and other flood protection options for the area to develop a plan which accommodates a number of considerations, including:

    • Shared jurisdiction between the District and Squamish Nation;
    • Infrastructure on, through, and next to the dike;
    • Encroaching development;
    • Private property challenges;
    • Impinging river flows and debris impact;
    • Sensitive environmental habitat areas; and
    • Tourism and recreational use.

     

  • Where is the study area?

    The Master Plan development originally focused on the area of the Squamish River dike between the northern end of Siyích'em I.R. No. 16 and the northern end of Kowtain I.R. No. 17. However, through the options development phase of the project (Fall 2019), the study area was expanded to the southern boundary of Aik’wucks I.R No. 15/Fisherman’s Park.

    The study area and existing features are presented in the following figure:

    Click image to view larger version.

     

  • Why is a dike upgrade needed in this area?

    The Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan found that the Squamish River dike in this area is deficient in the following ways:

    • A history of seepage and “piping” issues;
      • Piping occurs when the water pressure on the dike causes fine-grained material such as sand and silt to be pushed out through the dike foundation. Piping starts typically near the land-side slope toe of the dike and can be observed as sand boils or small mounds of fine-grained material found inside a seepage pond. As more material is pushed out, a cavity (i.e. pipe) forms from the land-side slope toe towards the water-side of the dike. This can lead to dike instability and breaching. Piping concerns can be avoided/mitigated through dike design and construction best practices involving seepage controls and careful specification of fill materials.
    • Dike cross-section not meeting provincial design guidelines due to changing guidelines from when it was first built;
    • Unknown subsurface conditions due to age of the dike;
    • Inadequate dike height;
    • Vegetation impacts to dike; and
    • Uncertain seismic performance.

    This section of the Squamish River Dike is particularly vulnerable as the river flows directly into the dike at the north end of the Eagle Viewing Area, and due to the deficiencies discussed above. Additionally, there are a number of considerations to take into account based on the varied uses of the area, and therefore an early planning process involving community input was/is necessary before detailed design and construction.

    River level during October 2003 event near Eagle Viewing Area 

    Same location as previous during normal flow conditions.

  • When will the dike upgrades be built?

    There is still much work to be done. The timing of the upgrades will depend on confirmation of feasibility of the new alignment (i.e. ability to receive permits from regulatory agencies), completing necessary studies identified in the plan, securing grant funding and other District and Nation priorities. Prior to construction, there will be additional opportunities for public input.

  • What is the project schedule and where are we now?

    The development of the Master Plan involved the following major phases of work and timelines:

    Phase A: Initiation, information gathering, and context; Summer 2019 Complete
    Phase B: Visioning, brainstorming, and shortlisting options; Fall 2019 Complete
    Phase C: Conceptual design/engagement on shortlisted options; Fall 2019 - Winter 2019 Complete
    Phase D: Structured options evaluation and selection; Winter 2019 Complete
    Phase E: Draft master plan; and Spring 2020 Complete
    Phase F: Final engagement and final master plan. Spring/Summer 2020 Complete
  • Community engagement

    Community participation was and continues to be important to the success of the project.

    In development of the Master Plan, community input was previously gathered through the following activities:

    • Introductory online survey #1 (Fall 2019)
    • Shortlisted options review meetings with Squamish Nation members, Siyich’em residents, Government Road land owners/businesses, and community/environmental groups (November 2019)
    • Shortlisted options public open house (December 5, 2019)
    • Correspondence with regulatory agencies (November/December 2019)
    • Shortlisted options online survey #2 (December 2019)
    • Public Presentations to District and Squamish Nation Councils (February 2020)
    • Online Survey #3 (Summer 2020)
    • Correspondence with stakeholder groups (Summer 2020)
    • Review meeting with Squamish Nation members (Siyich’em Reserve families and residents (October 2020)
    • Public Presentations to District and Squamish Nation Councils (November 2020)

    There is still much work to be done. The timing of the upgrades will depend on confirmation of feasibility of the new alignment (i.e. ability to receive permits from regulatory agencies), completing necessary studies identified in the plan, securing grant funding and other District and Nation priorities. Prior to construction, there will be additional opportunities for public input.

Master Planning Process

  • About the planning process

    The development of the Master Plan was led by a Steering Committee comprised of District and Squamish Nation staff and councillors who directed a consulting team of engineers, biologists, and landscape architects.

    During the master planning process, eight high-level conceptual options were proposed.  Two Steering Committee meetings were used to advance from the list of high-level concepts to a shortlist of distinct options for conceptual design and engagement. The shortlisted options were presented to the community through the website, meetings, and an open house (December 5, 2019). The boards from the December 2019 open house are available here: Click to view the boards.

    In January 2020, the Steering Committee selected a preferred dike alignment option (discussed in detail below) based on a review of the options against District-Nation common interests, technical/administrative feasibility, and cost. In February 2020, both District and Nation Councils endorsed the preferred dike alignment option for further study and engagement.

    You can watch a video of the District council meeting presentation and discussion here: View the February 11 meeting video.

    Following this endorsement, the final Dike Master Plan was prepared which documents the options development and selection process, presents the refined preferred dike alignment option (discussed below) and identifies next steps for implementation of the plan.

    The final Dike Master Plan was presented to District and Squamish Nation Councils for endorsement on November 10 and 12, 2020 respectively. View the November 10 District of Squamish Council meeting video (Committee of the Whole, item 1).

Selected Option and Additional Features

  • Selected dike alignment option details

    The selected dike alignment option has two key components:

    • A new dike alignment from Aik’wucks Reserve/Fisherman’s Park to near the southern boundary of Siyich’em Reserve; and
    • Dike raising on the existing alignment through the Eagle Viewing Area.

    Presented below, the new dike alignment from Aik’wucks Reserve/Fisherman’s Park to near the southern boundary of Siyich’em Reserve will enable the potential recapture of historic Siyich’em Reserve land lost to erosion and adjacent unceded land claimed by the crown and avoid extensive reconstruction on private property along Eagle Run Drive and Maple Crescent. Addressing the loss of historic reserve land and current dike trespass through the Siyich’em Reserve were key factors in the development of this alignment. In addition, Squamish Nation approval is required for work on reserve land.

    The new dike alignment would allow for the decommissioning of three drainage structures to be replaced by a new fish-friendly pump station at the outlet of Jimmy Jimmy (Judd) Slough. The new dike would partially disconnect an existing forested island from the Squamish River. Additional study as identified in the plan is required to better understand the potential impacts and mitigation measures required.

    This alignment would likely eliminate the need for future upgrading of the existing dike along Eagle Run Drive from Fisherman’s Park to the Siyich’em Reserve which is located in between Jimmy Jimmy (Judd) Slough and residential properties.

    In the Eagle Viewing Area, the work would raise the existing dike by up to 1.5 m additional height and expand the footprint towards Government Road, without impacting the road. Depending on the available space between the existing dike and Government Road, the dike upgrading geometry may involve a grass slope with or without an adjacent berm, or a retaining wall.

    You can view the refined conceptual design footprint of the dike upgrade here: Click to view.

    In addition to the dike upgrade, the master plan has developed initial conceptual designs for:

    • Upgrading of public amenities in the Eagle Viewing Area: Click to view
    • Relocating Government Road off of Siyich’em Reserve to address a historic trespass: Click to view

Next Steps

  • Advancing the plan toward implementation

    A series of next steps is required to advance the Dike Master Plan towards implementation (construction).  The next steps for the project include the following, which are discussed in more detail in the plan (view link in Additional Information below):

    • Land tenure administrative processes;
    • Additional analysis and feasibility assessments;
    • Preliminary design and engagement;
    • Regulatory engagement;
    • Detailed design, public engagement, and permitting; and
    • Construction, operation, and maintenance.

Additional Information