On sunny mornings, Eric Armour and his dog, Onyx, sometimes venture along the Mamquam Blind Channel.
They scramble through holes in chain-link fences and carefully tread along loose banks. The area’s beautiful, Armour says, and it’s close to his downtown store.
“It’s convenient,” he adds.
Before the end of next year, District of Squamish Coun. Ted Prior wants to see a walkway built along the channel. The idea has been around for more than a decade, he says, while standing on municipally owned property at the south end of Victoria Street. Now it’s time to make it a reality, Prior says.
“This is why I ran [for council],” he says.
A 1994 district flood management plan called for “upgrading of the sea dykes in the downtown area of Squamish” to provide continuous protection. Almost 20 years later, the recommendation is still collecting dust, Prior notes, as he kneels beside the channel’s bank.
“High tide laps in right here,” he said, pointing to a mark within three inches of the shoreline’s crest.
Erosion has eaten away 40 feet of land, Prior added. The 1994 report stated that a temporary fix to the downtown area’s dikes would include the construction of a four-foot-high, nine-foot-wide mound along the channel, Prior said, noting the estimated price tag was $45,000.
The district’s Squamish 2000 Plan, a downtown development strategy, also highlights a public boardwalk along the length of the channel. That would create strong community links through the business core to both the Squamish River Estuary and the Blind Channel, Prior explains.
If the municipality forges ahead with the temporary dike, it would not only protect downtown from flooding, but also provide the long-awaited walkway, he says.
“Any other thing that we are looking at for the Mamquam Blind Channel is going to take us years,” Prior says.
The construction would fall under the heading of flood management, which gives the community the right to protect itself by securing rights of way, he notes, adding the upgrades would also add value to private properties along the channel.
“To me this is a quick fix,” Prior says.
At the Oct. 2 Economic Development Standing Committee meeting, Prior recommended that council ask district staff to look at options for placing a boardwalk along the Mamquam Blind Channel. The motion was passed and is set to go before council for approval.