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Delayed Squamish dredging project on hold again

Water and sewer rates to rise by 15 per cent



A sand removal project in the Mamquam Blind Channel (MBC) that has been described as required for safe boating still doesn't have a start date.

Squamish Council considered the dredging issue late last year and directed District of Squamish (DOS) staff to find a way to remove a small amount of the sand built up from the delta of the Stawamus River during a brief window of opportunity early in 2013. Greig Garland, the DOS director of capital projects reported that Vancouver Pile and Dredge was prepared to start a four-day clamshell dredge on March 24 but a permit required to dump the material wasn't approved.

The herring spawn currently taking place in the channel and along the shore of Howe Sound is further complicating project planning. Once the concern for the herring eases the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) will start to watch for juvenile salmon to start finding their way into the area.

Garland said the DFO might allow 4,000 cubic metres of sand to be removed in mid-April over a four-day period at a cost of $100,000. The initial estimated cost of the project was $70,000.

During extreme low tides, the navigation channel in the MBC dries up completely making it impossible to get in and out of the upper reaches of the channel for hours at a time.

Water and sewer fees going up again

Squamish created a plan to deal with its infrastructure deficit a few years ago and the community leaders are sticking with it.

A 15 per cent increase in water and sewer rates was approved Tuesday. This follows an increase last year of 10 per cent. The fees are being increased to cover the true cost of delivering water and sewer services while also helping to finance the cost of anticipated upgrades to the aging water and sewer pipes in many parts of Squamish.

The big jump in fees was passed without discussion.

"We are in the middle of this process and it is on track," said Councillor Doug Race.

Mini golf gets permit

A decision this week has golfers under the age of 13 pleased. A proposed mini golf course got a key approval when the members of Squamish Council granted the project proponents a development permit.

The 18-hole Whistle Punk mini golf course proposed for the Eagle Vista Resort and Campground is to feature sculpted concrete and wood elements, low level shielded LED lights and grass putting greens.

"It is going to be nice to have that next to the rec. centre," said Councillor Ted Prior.

Councillor Susan Chapelle added that she knows people who travel great distances to play mini golf.