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Updated: Squamish's sole boat launch faces further degradation and accessibility issues

Advocate calls on Woodfibre LNG to fix launch; company says it is working directly with ‘operator.’ Meanwhile, the District is moving toward a new public boat launch solution.

Update (April 26): Please note that the Squamish Marine Access Review has been moved from the April 30 council agenda to a tentative date of May 7.

—Original story—

Rich Duncan stands watching a young man and woman try to navigate their boat on a trailer out of the water at the Squamish boat launch in the Mamquam Blind Channel.

It is low tide, and the back wheels of the pickup truck are spinning fruitlessly in the water. 

"Put it in four-wheel drive low," Duncan yells. 

Eventually, the truck lunges forward, and the dripping vehicle and aluminum skiff make their way up the worn concrete of the boat launch. 

Duncan has seen this kind of thing before. The avid boater and founder of the Squamish Needs a Boat Launch Facebook page says that the one place to put a boat in the water in the district hasn't been great for a while—causing situations like the pair stuck at low tide—but recently it has gotten a lot worse. 

He says Woodfibre LNG contractors' vessels, particularly landing barges, have been using the boat launch and causing further damage. He is calling on the company to pay to fix it.

Many of the concrete blocks along the right side of the ramp are now fully pulled away from it. 

This is an issue because the blocks protect the concrete ramp. Without them, the concrete degrades quicker as the tide comes in and out. The barriers also keep trailers and vehicles from going over the edge.

"These are necessary to keep people from running off the sides with their trailers. As you can see, when they came down here, they struggled all the way down," he said of the truck and trailer that weaved awkwardly down the ramp to retrieve their boat.

The other issue is that the gravel ramp on the right-hand side is unusable due to massive ruts that have been created. Again, Duncan blames contractors working for Woodfibre LNG.

He says he has met with representatives of the company, but the issue hasn't been resolved.

The Squamish Chief reached out to Woodfibre LNG with several questions about the situation with the boat ramp. 

A spokesperson for the company, Sean Beardow, sent the following statement: "The issue has been raised and is being dealt with directly between the operator and the company.”

Ultimately, say locals who have been advocating for decades, Squamish needs a public boat launch away from the downtown core, as alongside the current degradation there is also minimal parking and manoeuvrability with the current popular lot.

Right now, Duncan advocates for one at Darrell Bay. 

April 30 meeting

A spokesperson for the municipality said the District began working on a Squamish Marine Access Review (SMAR) in 2021, as part of the 2018 Marine Action Strategy, which aimed to address marine access like the boat launch. 

“The purpose of this project was to assess community ocean access needs and improve planning and coordination of marine access areas and infrastructure to enhance ocean access for all marine users. Extensive engagement opportunities were held during the course of this project including community surveys, pop-up events and direct outreach with intergovernmental agencies and local organizations,” the spokesperson said in a written statement.

“A boat launch situational analysis was presented to Council in June 2023 as part of the SMAR Update and Discussion Draft. The final SMAR will be presented to council for endorsement on April 30. The SMAR contains recommendations for boat launch access as well as an examination of identified alternative sites for the long term. The current financial plan includes initiating a launch feasibility assessment for Darrell Bay in 2024. Next steps will be determined following the council outcome after the presentation later this month.”

For more information on the District’s plan, visit

The Squamish Chief tried to contact the private landowner of the property the launch sits on but did not hear back. 

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