Very soon the Ministry of Transportation is going to start working out the specifics on how Hwy. 99 will run through Squamish.
The detailed design will shed light on the impacts the expanded highway will have on the local environment.
One of my hopes is that the highway upgrade will be used as an opportunity to improve flows through the upper Mamquam Blind Channel.
Past rail and highway development caused negative impacts on the channel and that trend has to be reversed.
A large culvert was installed just north of Carson Place when road builders created Buckley Avenue, which at one time served as part of the highway through Squamish.
The people who made the decision to install the culvert instead of a bridge had no idea that the channel would become as negatively impacted as it is today.Many years after that culvert was installed, the province decided to relocate Hwy. 99 to where it is today. Instead of building a bridge over the channel for the "new" highway, another large culvert was installed.
This time around, I'd like to see the culvert taken out and a second bridge constructed over the channel. This option, it seems to me, would improve natural flow and reduce impacts on wildlife.The dream won't become a reality because the budget for the project won't allow for such extravagance.
I hope that whatever the eventual highway design looks like that it will promote Mamquam Blind Channel flows.
When the Sea to Sky Adventure Centre is built it will be a shame if our visitors are subjected to admiring an unattractive body of water.
Ideally, we want visitors to see naturally flushed clean water. The channel needs to be freed, as much as possible, from culverts and linked to the Swan Slough by the Wilson Crescent apartments - a link which existed until the rail lines were built.
When the rail lines were built there must not been any thought of bridging the waterway because the builders of the line installed small culverts that are reportedly blocked.
I have similar concerns for the plans in the wetlands between Garibaldi Way and Depot Road but that is a topic for another day.
In the Feb. 20 edition of The Chief, I indicated in this space that building inspector Chris Farquhar issued a stop work order on the cabin being constructed on the hillside above Finch Drive.
Farquhar was not employed by the District of Squamish at the time. In fact, he was hired many months after stop work orders for the cabin were issued.
I regret the error and any embarrassment it may have caused the building inspector and his family.