Xwu’nekw Park Sea Dike

The District of Squamish is developing detailed sea dike design for the Xwu'nekw Park (pronounced Whoo-Nay-Oak) Sea Dike, which will upgrade the shoreline to provide flood protection for Downtown Squamish. The park is located on the Mamquam Blind Channel and Loggers Lane between Victoria and Main Streets.

May 2021 Update

The detailed sea dike, waterfront walkway and water access design phase is nearing completion. Along with the new vertical sheet pile dike and waterfront walkway, the design includes installation of intermediate concrete pier that supports fixed gangways from the dike down to a floating dock on the Mamquam Blind Channel. This public water access will initially support hand-launching of non-motorized watercraft (kayaks, surf-skis, stand up paddleboards and canoes etc).

Finalized drawings with dike and water access alignment details will be posted to the project page once completed. Upon finalized design, the District will initiate the permitting stage to obtain all required provincial and federal approvals for the dike and public float. The District aims to initiate construction during the 2021 Fish Window (August to January, 2021). See Project Timeline details below.

Of further note, this first phase of work has aimed to maintain flexibility for future park/community use of the upland and the potential for additional marine infrastructure or uses that will be determined through long-term park planning and community engagement.

May 26, 2021 -  Canadian Navigable Waters Act Application

 The District of Squamish has submitted an application with the Minister of Transportation for the following work:

  • Installation of a 200m long sheet pile sea dike following along the high water mark.
  • Installation of a new gangway and dock to provide public access to the water.
  • Installation of rip-rap berm as an environmental enhancement measure along the base of the sheet pile wall.

Read the Notice of Application: Canadian Navigable Waters Act.

 

July 2020 Update

On July 21 2020 Council reviewed the preliminary dike concepts and endorsed Option 2 (see below for detailed description). Next steps involve detailed design and permitted phases of the project.

View the July 21 Staff Report and Community Engagement Results.  

June 2020 Dike Concepts + Public Survey:

Following geotechnical site investigations conducted in February, initial preliminary concepts were developed based on technical dike design, as well as community water access criteria. Two initial design concepts for the sea wall and plans for interim park improvements at Xwu’nekw Park were presented for community input through an online public survey that closed July 14.

View the preliminary design package here .

Dike concepts and options:

Option 1: A straighter linear alignment for the sheet pile wall that links to and extends south from Victoria Street to Main Street. This option requires additional fill and associated habitat compensation, but maintains more upland usable park space. View Option 1

Option 2: A ‘notched’ or inset sea wall that preserves the historic indent along the shoreline that was used for log dumping during the mid 1900s when the site was used by PGE Railway. This option requires less fill and associated habitat compensation than Option 1, but reduces the usable upland area. View Option 2

The sheet pile wall alignment under both options follows the average High Water Mark (HWM) to reduce the amount of infill of the channel, while providing useable upland area for future use. The overall alignment was reviewed and supported by Council in November 2019. For more information, please refer to the November 12, 2019 report to Council

The final design will integrate habitat enhancement and restoration features to increase ecological complexity and habitat value in the marine environment; constructed habitat structures under consideration include textured panels, habitat skirts, benches and steps, and niche habitats (reef balls, voids, mounds).

On the upland, both options include an extension of the waterfront pathway that is planned to continue the length of the channel for pedestrians and cyclists. The dike elevation (4.7m) transitions down into the park area, where existing park amenities, such as the paddle storage facility and the Xwu‘nekw Canoe Restoration Shelter, are preserved for the near term along with public parking and drop off at Main Street (South end). Community water access for self-propelled watercraft is proposed to allow for water access through a series of platforms, gangways and a floating dock. Flexibility for future potential upland and waterfront uses includes municipal and community uses. At this time no decision has been made as to future long-term use of this site.

Project Background

The site of Xwu’nekw Park and the surrounding area has a rich history dating back long before western settlement when 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 Squamish 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 slack lines.

Xwu’nekw Park is surrounded by a variety of ongoing and future land development. These include the Sirocco development which will include a ramp and dock from the dike down to the water near the Victoria Street road end, and the Waterfront Landing pedestrian bridge which will ultimately terminate on the dike at Victoria Street. Potential for future uses of the land and water include community facilities, park use, water/transportation access and on-water boat storage.

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.  

Project Details 

The proposed Xwu’nekw Park Sea Dike will utilize a steel sheet pile with a vertical face on the water side of the dike to avoid encroaching on the existing canoe shelter and paddling storage. This will provide approximately 4,500 square metres of usable facility space in the park with an approximate width of 24 metres. The concept design will facilitate future water uses such as docks, and potential boat storage and public amenity uses. It will also connect to the Sirocco waterfront pathway and future Waterfront Landing pedestrian bridge at the Victoria Street end. 

Sea Dike

Design Overview:

  • Provides flexibility for future land and water community uses
  • Creates/maintains non-motorized water access with gangway and public dock
  • Improves marine habitat through use of 'reef balls', 'naturalized habitat skirt' or 'living seawall' (to be determined during detailed design)
  • Adds to continued waterfront trail experience along the  Mamquam Blind Channel

Project Timeline + Costs

The District engaged a multi-disciplinary project team (civil/geotechnical engineers, landscape architects, environmental professionals and engagement specialists) in fall 2019 to lead detailed design, engagement and project permitting. Following provincial and federal approvals, the District aims to initiate construction during the 2021 Fish Window (August 16, 2021 to January 31, 2021). Project timing will be dependent on applicable provincial and federal authorizations. The District is aiming for completion in 2022. Further scheduling information will be provided as the project progresses.

The total cost of this project is estimated at $8-million. The project will be funded primarily through grant funding with the remainder funded by the municipal budget. 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.

Impacts

Impacts will be significant during construction and will include the use of cranes, pile drivers, excavators and trucks. The District will strive to mitigate noise and community impacts during construction. Alternative public water access options during the dike construction period are also under review and development.

Public Engagement

For the dike and water access design in this initial phase, the District has continued to solicit feedback from marine and park recreation interests, environment stakeholders, the general public, local tourism and business sectors and governments including the Squamish Nation, Province of BC and Federal agencies. Guided by the IAP2 spectrum of engagement, the process has sought to inform, consult, and involve stakeholders at various stages.project timeline graphic April2020

The project is currently in Stage 4 of 5 stages. Community engagement activities to date have included user group outreach and a virtual focus group workshop, followed by a Community Survey to solicit comment on technical design concept(s), water access, and integration of parks and other uses. Due to the emergency COVID-19 response, in person information meetings were replaced with online updates and resources via the District’s main communication channels to allow for alternate participation and dialogue. Please see the Comment Form and Project Contacts at the bottom of this page.

Staff Contacts

David Roulston, Project Manager droulston@squamish.ca, 604-815-4952

Sarah McJannet, Senior Planner smcjannet@squamish.ca  604-815-5096

July 21 2020 Staff ReportJuly 21 2020 Staff Report and Community Engagement ResultsJuly 21 2020 Staff Report and Community Engagement Results

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Comments

  • BILL MCENERY Jun 11, 2021, 5:09 PM (52 days ago)

    I LIKE OPTION 2 BUT BEFORE EITHER I WANT TO SEE THE PARKING PLAN. PARKING AT THE WATERFRONT AT PRESENT IS A MAD HOUSE, NOT NEAR ENOUGH SPACE HAS BEEN ALLOWED THERE.

  • Glen Jul 12, 2020, 9:37 PM (13 months ago)

    Option two is fine in my opinon , it’s not necessary to fill in this notch. But it would be nice to see more water access and docking space for public and Commerical watersports users from the community. Increasing dock space will be very useful for paddlers , dingys and small sail boats.

  • Ted prior Jul 5, 2020, 9:05 AM (13 months ago)

    Like them both . Option 2 gives you more park. But the opinion 1 gives more seating which could be better as the populations climb

  • Corinne Lonsdale Jul 4, 2020, 4:58 PM (13 months ago)

    I prefer Option 1 because it will provide more usable park space. It is level and can accommodate larger groups for community gatherings and celebrations. I realize the cost may be higher because of the fill required but the benefit out weighs the expense.

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