Xwu’nekw Park Sea Dike

The District of Squamish is developing detailed 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 on the Mamquam Blind Channel and Loggers Lane between Victoria and Main Streets.

June 2020 Update + 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 are presented for community input through a survey now open through until July 14.

View the preliminary design package here and click here to launch the survey.

 

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 floating docks. 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.

Temporary Transitional Housing at Xwu’nekw Park during the COVID-19 crisis

The District partnered with Squamish Helping Hands Society and BC Housing to locate a temporary transitional housing camp building at Xwu’nekw Park. This emergency measure is providing shelter for vulnerable residents with the option to physically distance and self-isolate as needed. The temporary housing will be in place from May to October 2020, when the Under One Roof permanent transitional housing building opens up. The modular building is situated on the northern half of the site, and access to the rest of the park is being maintained, including access to the paddle storage building.

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 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 would 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, boat storage and floating commercial. It will also support the future Waterfront Landing pedestrian bridge and Sirocco ramps and floating dock. 

Sea Dike

Design Overview:

  • Provides flexibility for future land and water uses
  • Creates/maintains water access with ramps and dock
  • Aims to improve marine habitat through use of 'reef balls', 'naturalized habitat skirt' or 'living seawall' (to be determined during detailed design)
  • Waterfront trail

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 2020 Fish Window (August 16, 2020 to January 31, 2021). Project timing will be dependent on funding and applicable provincial and federal authorizations. Further scheduling information will be provided as the project progresses.

This project is estimated to cost $5 million and the District is aiming for completion by fall 2021.

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

The District is actively seeking feedback from marine and park recreation interests, environment stakeholders, the general public, and governments including the Squamish Nation, Province of BC and Federal agencies to inform detailed design. Guided by the IAP2 spectrum of engagement, the process seeks to inform, consult, and involve stakeholders.

project timeline graphic April2020

The project is currently in Stage 2 of 5 stages. Community engagement activities will include 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 are being 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

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Comments

  • Ted prior Jul 5, 2020 9:05 AM (4 days 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 (5 days 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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