A river runs through it, again 

But after $5 million in restoration work is Squamish’s Mamquam Reunion Project protected

click to enlarge Lady by the Water Biologist Edith Tobe wanders a newly hydrated channel of the Mamquam River. The Mamquam Reunion Project is now in "tweaking" stages
  • Lady by the Water Biologist Edith Tobe wanders a newly hydrated channel of the Mamquam River. The Mamquam Reunion Project is now in "tweaking" stages

Were Edith Tobe to forage her property and soul in search of commonality with Peter Legere, no doubt she’d come up almost entirely short — almost being the operative adjective.

Tobe’s proverbial best friend, Angel, is a stone-deaf Australian Cattle Dog. Peppy and pert, Angel is probably the last place Tobe would look for a link to Legere. But there it is: The dog is mad for rocks, just loves them, barks like crazy every time she sees one, scoops them up in her tiny jaw and takes them running all over Tobe’s haunts, which include the network of trails skirting the newly hydrated Mamquam River channels.

And Legere? He digs rocks, too. At least, he’d very much like to. Along with a partner, Legere has an investigative permit from the Integrated Land Management Bureau. He’s using it to explore the possibility of setting up a rock quarry off Loggers Lane, right in the environs of the Mamquam Reunion Project, a multi-million dollar restoration effort that Tobe, a biologist and project manager with the Squamish River Watershed Society, was a key part of. Should the quarry become a reality, Tobe worries, the water table could be smashed and all those re-hydrated fingers could once again run dry.

Fret not, says Legere. “If it would have any affect on their operation, I’m thinking that it might enhance their efforts by adding more water to the upper end of the Blind Channel.”

The way Legere sees it, the quarry hole would be dug down “approximately to low tide level,” which would allow it to collect water from the underground flow of the Mamquam.

“We’d end up with more fish habitat,” he says, “which is what Ms. Tobe and her fisheries people have been after all along.”

If arguments unfold on a continuum, and Legere inhabits one end of the debate, Tobe would probably need an investigative permit to see if she could construct a bridge from her spectrum to his.

“I think the bottom line is we don’t know what the impacts are,” she says summarily, “and I’m concerned what the impacts will be.”

The quarry isn’t quite the point. It’s more of an offshoot of the point, which is that after spending $2.5 million in cold cash (a total of $5 million in cash and in-kind contributions), the reunited Mamquam is not fully protected. It’s just flowing under partial guard through the busy battlefield that is development culture in today’s Squamish.

Long before anyone with a hammer could get rich in Squamish, the Mamquam used to flow from Mamquam Lake, way up in Garibaldi Provincial Park, down through the Industrial Park, finally joining Squamish River just north of Howe Sound Secondary, which is across from the Adventure Centre.


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