Will the access review consider both motorized and non-motorized marine uses and access needs? Marine access for whom?

    Yes, the scope of this marine access review is inclusive of motorized and non-motorized water access for a broad cross section of uses, users and access types (public, recreational, commercial, industrial, and institutional). It will also identify and locate public vs private access points and any constraints, barriers and opportunities for access as well as physical accessibility for all.

    Will the project address or resolve the water access situation with the Squamish Spit?

    This downtown marine access review is distinct from the Restore the Shore project (formerly known as Central Estuary Restoration Project) but is considered important parallel work to focus on the bigger picture for marine access downtown.

    Squamish spit options and proposals are undergoing ongoing technical review, discussion and decision through the Restore the Shore project (formerly known as Central Estuary Restoration Project), which is led by the Skwxkwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), Squamish River Watershed Society (SWRS) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. For more information see: https://www.restoretheshore.ca. The District and Squamish Nation are also co-facilitating a visioning committee that includes the CERP project partners, windsports community, Tourism Squamish, Squamish Terminals, and various federal and provincial agencies to explore options for short and long term access to the spit once the CERP project is complete.

    The implications of any future changes to marine access currently provided by the Squamish Spit directly affects and informs community marine access needs and priorities that will be articulated in the District's downtown marine access review.

    The spatial focus will be on the core Mamquam Blind Channel area (east and west shorelines), from the upper reaches of the channel near the Squamish Adventure Centre to the Squamish Oceanfront, west of Sta'7mes (Squamish Nation Village) and the Site B Industrial waterfront to the south. 

    The central estuary as well as other marine areas (such as Darrell Bay, Ferry Terminal, and the north bay) will also be considered as part of a larger contextual study area. The marine access review will create a baseline of access needs and mapping to inform and support ongoing downtown land and marine access and transportation plan implementation.

    How will climate considerations be integrated and addressed in this project?

    Impacts of climate change and sea level rise are increasingly impacting Squamish and must be addressed in all aspects of our coastal planning. Downtown is situated within the floodplain and vulnerable to coastal flooding, inundation, and shoreline erosion with rising sea levels, storm surges and seasonal king tides. The District is planning for over 1 metre of sea level rise by 2100, and 2 metres by 2200 and is prioritizing coastal flood mitigation to protect against this future anticipated sea level rise.

    Improvements to existing areas and plans for future marine access infrastructure will need to be integrated with coastal protection strategies and measures. Specific strategies depend on the site-specific context for waterfront sites (e.g. connected coastal areas downtown that are impacted by both river flooding and sea level rise, vs unconnected sites that are not influenced by river flooding). They include:

    • reducing flood risk through land use decisions,
    • ensuring built infrastructure is protected by employing flood construction standards and by addressing deficiencies in the existing dike network for protected areas, and
    • building new coastal protection structures (both diking and bioengineering).

    For more information: Integrated Flood Hazard Management Plan - District of Squamish - Hardwired for Adventure 

    Squamish needs a boat launch. How will this be addressed?

    The need for and status of the current boat launch in Squamish have been raised as a growing and important concern within the community for some time. With continued community growth, the boat launch is seeing increasing recreational and commercial use, while it's condition is eroding; it is not accessible at all tides and lacks in water launch facilities and upland parking. The launch is unmaintained and sits on private land.

    This will be a core part of the marine access review this year to confirm boat launch needs, key land use and design considerations, as well as options for boat launching going forward, in close consultation with the community. The District has been contacted by engaged citizens that wish to work together towards finding interim and long-term solutions for boat launching. In Stage 2 of the project a detailed marine access survey will be initiated with a public boat launch discussion opportunity (see Project Timeline).

    Will important riverside access points beyond Downtown be considered in this access review? If not, when will this be looked at?

    No, river access points (that also provide or lead to marine access ultimately via the riverways) outside of the downtown are not being assessed through this marine access project. However any inputs or key insights that are collected respecting river access will be saved and may be considered as relevant in other related community planning initiatives or ongoing land use management discussions with other government agencies.

    Where any community access, safety or environmental concerns are raised through public engagement these will be shared with District of Squamish Protective Services, Public Works, Community Planning, Environment, and/or Bylaw Services as necessary.

    I’m concerned about access impacts on the natural environment and local ecosystems; how will negative impacts be assessed and avoided?

    Human impacts on sensitive marine areas is a key consideration in assessing existing and future planned marine access areas and infrastructure. As Squamish and the Sea to Sky region grow and more people seek ocean access for recreation and enjoyment, this puts pressure on natural habitats, ecosystems, as well as culturally important sites and values of First Nations. To avoid habitat degradation, fragmentation, pollution and potential for conflict, careful attention to protection of environmentally sensitive areas and archeological resources is needed. This project aims to bring awareness to where impact potential is greatest (overlap of marine use activities and environmentally sensitive areas) and look at how best to focus and manage marine access in ways that respect sensitive areas and ecological and cultural values in Squamish. Engagement across governments, including Squamish Nation and Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of BC, as well as environmental professionals and stewardship groups will occur through the project.