Eagle Viewing Area / Siyich'em Reserve Dike Master Plan

dike master plan header with new squamish nation logo


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

The preferred alignment supported by both DOS and Squamish Nation Councils is now being reviewed in more detail and we are seeking additional public input. Information about the project is available below.

To participate in this third public input opportunity, please review the Selected Option and Additional Features in the drop-down menu below, and then complete the survey.

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Dike Master Plan: Study Area and Background Information

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

    This project assesses options for upgrading the dike protecting Brackendale, Siyich’em Reserve, and the rest of Squamish in accordance with the recently completed Squamish Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan.

    The project also considers non-flood protection challenges and opportunities of the area. This project assesses options for upgrading the dike protecting Brackendale, Siyich’em Reserve, and the rest of Squamish in accordance with the recently completed Squamish Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan.

    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 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.

    This project does not involve implementation, i.e. no dike construction. A future project or projects will implement the plan and will provide further opportunities for input.

  • Where is the study area?

    The project 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, the options development phase of the project (Fall 2019) expanded the study area 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 existing dike along this reach 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 (e.g. sand/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 modern industry best practices and provincial design guidelines;
    • unknown subsurface conditions;
    • inadequate dike height;
    • vegetation impacts to dike; and
    • uncertain seismic performance.

    River level during October 2003 event near Eagle Viewing Area 

    Same location as previous during normal flow conditions.

  • Why is the Master Plan being developed for this section now?

    This section of the Squamish River Dike is particularly vulnerable as the river takes an abrupt turn at the upstream end 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 is necessary before detailed design and construction.

  • When will the dike upgrades be built?

    When the upgrades will be built depends on the option selected for flood protection, funding, and other District and Nation priorities. Prior to construction, there will be additional opportunities for input.

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

    The project involves 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 In Progress
  • How and when can I participate?

    Community participation is important to the success of the project.

    Community input was previously gathered in Fall/Winter 2019 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)

    At this time, the District and the Nation are reporting back on the option selection and draft dike master plan with information provided on the website. A final round of feedback is invited via this survey (we suggest reviewing the material on the website before responding to the survey.  Click here to launch the survey.

Master Planning Process

  • About the Planning Process

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

    During the master planning process, 8 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 the preferred option (discussed 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 option for future 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, a draft dike master plan report was prepared which documents the options development and selection process, presents the refined preferred option (discussed below), and identifies next steps for implementation of the plan.

Selected Option and Additional Features

  • Selected Option details

    The selected option has two key components:

    • A new dike alignment from Aik’wucks Reserve/Fisherman’s Park to near the south 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 south 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. 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.

    The new dike alignment would also allow the decommissioning of 3 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 and additional work is required to better understand the potential impacts and potential mitigation measures.

    This alignment would also potentially eliminate or reduce the need for future upgrading of the existing dike along Eagle Run Drive which is located in between Jimmy Jimmy (Judd) Slough and residential properties.

    In the Eagle Viewing Area reach, the selected option is to raise the existing dike by approximately 1.5 m and to 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 upgrading, 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 master plan towards implementation (construction).  The next steps for the project include the following, which are discussed in more detail in the draft master plan report (refer to additional information below).

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

Additional Information