It was 16 years ago that the eagle viewing area and Seaichem Reserve Dike was hit by the 2003 flood. Now, a project to repair the dike is before council, but it faces several challenges.
The District of Squamish's community planning and infrastructure department told council at its July 23 meeting that the multiple landowners — including the District, Squamish Nation, the province and private landowners — infrastructure conflicts and current dike deficiencies that stretch for one kilometre along the dike make the upgrade complicated.
At the time of the 2003 flood, water levels were within half a metre of the dike crest, and there was significant seepage, a report to council states.
A motion to award the contract to Kerr Wood Leidal Associates Ltd. for approximately $269,500 for a geotechnical survey was carried unanimously. The contractor was chosen by an evaluation committee of two Squamish Nation staff and two District staff.
"This is the first time that we've worked so closely with [the Squamish Nation] in a consulting project like this right from the beginning right through to them helping with the evaluation. So a significant step forward for both our organizations," said Chris Wyckham, the District's director of engineering.
Staff said the survey and design would have to include roadwork, washroom facilities, the Watershed Grill and a pump station. A landscape architect will ensure the final upgrade is aesthetically pleasing, especially since the eagle viewing area is known for its tourism.
Councillors said the upgrade is long overdue, and commented they were happy with the level of consultation with the Nation and the support.
"It's great to see this move forward with such good partnership from the beginning," Coun. Jenna Stoner said. "I think that's really important to the success of the project. It's not going to be easy. This is the start of some difficult conversations, but I'm really excited to see the thorough consultation plan as well as staff-to-staff collaboration."
The project will be fully funded by the National Disaster Mitigation Program grant. Once complete, the dike is expected to protect existing and future housing and businesses.