Squamish gets good deal on dyke upgrade 

The District of Squamish will spend $153,104 to add rip-rap on a 350-metre section of dyke on the Squamish River upstream of Fisherman's Park in the Brackendale area.

The announcement was made at the special business meeting of council held on Tuesday, Dec.14.

The district has a combined provincial and federal grant of $500,000 for the project, said Brian Barnett, the district's manager of operations. The federal funding comes from the Building Canada Fund and the provincial funding comes from Emergency Management of B.C.

"Our cost estimate was $460,000, but a low bid came in at $153,104, which was just fantastic pricing," said Barnett.

The reason for the low bid, he added, is that the contractor had a source for rip-rap (rock used to armour shoreline) material, which makes up about 90 per cent of the project cost.

Council also asked staff to advise the property owner of the 78.3 acres of land at the terminus of Depot Road that the district plans to make improvements to the dyke. The work on the dykes will start by next year.

The district has no statutory right to access the private land on the dyke, but section 32 of the Community Charter allows the entry of the officials and workers upon private land for any dyke upgrades.

Council also debated what could be done with the money that has been leftover because of the low bid.

Councillor Rob Kirkham said since the district still has the available money, it could be used for other dyke projects.

"It might be appropriate to refer to other dyke projects and ask if, in fact, those funds could be applied to those projects. They gave the money to be used and I'm sure they really don't want it back," he said, evoking a burst of laughter from councillors.

Councillor Patricia Heintzman said the district's prudent use of money should be emphasized in future communication with funding authorities.

"We got a great price on this. We should emphasize what a great job we did on not spending all the money and they should give us more money so we continue to do work on the dyke," she said.

Mayor Greg Gardner said there are other capital projects that could also use the residual funding, but he asked staff to look into the possibility of further dyke upgrades.

This proposed project on dyke upgrades was first presented to council on May 19, 2009.

As Pique had reported earlier, two local experts had expressed disappointment at the district's inability to address seepage, an issue that they said can lead to a catastrophic dyke collapse.



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