Sunday, February 3, 2013

Squamish Streamkeepers Update-The herring are in.
An interesting article from Jack Cooley (Squamish Streamkeepers)
This organization has done so much over the last few years to aid in the return of herring to our area....Well done guys and gals!
On Friday, February 2nd,  the Streamkeepers went to the Squamish Terminals East Dock to put in two float lines for herring to spawn upon. Their timing couldn’t have been better as the myriad of seagulls wheeling off the south end of the Terminals showed that the herring had already spawned on the intertidal bladderwrack there. With the lowering of the afternoon tide, the seagulls were getting to feast on the exposed herring caviar. No doubt a welcome treat in mid winter.

            The 200 pilings that had been wrapped with safe spawning materials since 2006 had also received a light early spawn which should increase dramatically through February and March and even into early April.

The last few years the Streamkeepers had put out one 350 foot floatline, but this year the float lines were more than doubled that to 850 feet. There are several advantages to float lines over wrapped pilings. First, since the herring can spawn on both sides of a floatline, the spawning surface area is doubled. Second, Since the float line goes up and down with the tide, the eggs lain on the float lines are never exposed to surface elements such as frost, sun, wind and floating surface contaminants. Last year many of the wrapped intertidal piling eggs died while the subtidal float line eggs and the nearby intertidal bladderwrack eggs survived, indicating there had been an unidentified surface contaminate under the dock last year. Therefore the decision was made that this year the expansion of herring spawning aids would be limited to sub surface materials, that is expansion of the float lines until it is certain that there is no surface contaminants under the dock that could kill intertidal eggs.

As always, a big crew makes for lighter work, and this year we had the biggest crew so far. Cal Hartnell, Jen Smalley, Brad Ray, Ana Santos, Patrick MacNamara, Lyle Wood, John Rodgers (Alaskan visitor), Mike Pawluk, Eric Andersen, Jonn Matsen, and Jack Cooley. The next step will involve routine monitoring of the herring spawn and it’s hatch out quantity and quality, followed by pulling and hosing down the float lines in mid April.       

            Many thanks to Squamish Terminals for their ongoing support in bringing back the herring to Howe Sound.





   Cleveland/Hwy.99....Entrance to Squamish Downtown......Roundabout?  (Jan 2013)

Recently, I sent this to the District of Squamish:

 "This is an unusual enquiry regarding your possible input to the Dept. of Highways about the future design of this intersection. Traffic flow is always an issue with regard to Highway design. Here we have an intersection which is potentially very dangerous and which deals with a lot of traffic most of the time. There, recently, has been much discussion about the ease of access to Downtown.

In Europe and other parts of the world Roundabouts have been employed to solve many of these traffic flow problems albeit not so much here. I believe that this concept should be explored more.

We now have three roundabouts in our District which, I realise, are not under the control of the Highways Dept. These, I think, are succesful (even though the GH ones are a bit too tight). A roundabout at the entrance to town would facilitate both general traffic flow and make an easier 1st exit priority entrance to toward Downtown.

 In short, I believe that Council should discuss the possibility of contacting the Dept. of Highways regarding this after some discussion of the feasibility of this concept. And don't be squeamish Guys...They really do work!!...I am really tired of waiting and waiting to make a turn. Such can lead to impatience and dangerous subsequent eratic reponse. This same thing applies at the Park Royal intersection...Really really bad. Eccentric?...Well we have to start somewhere."

I have had further discussions with the District Engineering Dept. and they are investigating this suggestion. The BC Dept. of Highways has, in the past, been reluctant to pursue this idea but there are actually a few in use on our main highways so the possibilty is still alive for further discussion.
For a model there is one near Whiterock and there is a good one on 16th. Ave UBC...though this is not actually on a main highway (abeit very busy). Do a "Google Earth" and you will find them. Please comment on this and do your own action/enquiries if you see fit.

Dec 2018: What I would like to know is who makes these decisions. I have repeatedly contacted Council regarding The Cleveland/ Highway 99 intersection and the need for consideration of a ‘roundabout’ solution there.

All they keep saying is they agree, and that they have tried, but the Ministry says a definite NO!

Frankly, I don’t think they are trying hard enough. They should nail down the reasoning and continue to lobby. Maybe this NEW Council can try again. We need something done there but I am tired of banging my head against a brick wall! Roundabouts save lives!...All over the world. Traffic is slowed but the flow is not restricted. The worst that can happen are the occasional fender-benders not fatalities…look at the world stats on this. Look at Europe and even in the States. Sometimes this Country is  frustratingly conservative in matters like this!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

      Squamish....A perception   (Dave Colwell  Jan.2013)


If there is a problem with the layout of our District, it lies with its History and the related Geography;  not primarily with its modern-day planners and developers.

We all live in a valley which was carved out by glacial action more than 8000 years ago. For a long time it has been  home to Salish First Nation People who continue to live along the river from Cheekye to  Howe Sound . They were never concentrated in one single place in the valley but rather in settlements separated according to their needs and available resources along the river.

Then We came. The mouth of the estuary was a little further up the valley in the late 19th. century. The land was beginning to be farmed and the logging industry was evolving as the early settlers cut trees  to build their essential structures and later sell the wood to the outside. Brackendale became a bit of an agricultural  hub and the estuary naturally  became a port to enable travel to Vancouver and for shipping wood. There was no really good road south in the very early years. Soon the railway came as the settlements grew and this began to segment the valley, fanning  out close to the estuary.

The rough social demography of what we have now slowly emerged. Brackendale remained and expanded slowly as did the community around the port and arable lands just back from the ever advancing estuary. 

These two communities, separated by the transversely  flowing  Mamquam river form the nuclei of what we have today and unfortunately what some now call a "sprawl". When you have two communities close together there will always be growth between as there will be a road (or in our case also a railway). And it's always easier to build in already cleared areas... namely alongside these communication corridors. This process has inevitably happened here and speeded up recently. Some say this is a bad thing but can we turn it back and change it?

The legacy that this history and geography has left us is a "Downtown" cut and sliced by river, sloughs and railway  lines. The railway owns the land through which it passes, posing restrictions on would-be developers also the river and sloughs inexorably try to change their courses. Road builders like easy,  purposeful routes to connect A to B to C etc. so the end result might not always mesh perfectly with existing communities along the way. Meanwhile the population grows with all the needs for service. The more the population grows, the more arguments  ensue regarding the right direction to take.

In short, "(Squamish) ,we have a problem" least in the perception held by many. Some want heavy industry, some light. Some don't like amenities near the highway; some don't care. Some want a cultural centre in one our case , the old "Downtown". But we all need services for our family needs; and for our expanding population these must have space. The question is: Is there now enough space downtown?...I think not.  Whatever stores are placed there will never provide for all the needs of our present valley population. Always remember that this older town site is vulnerable to flooding and this is one of the reasons for so many later sub-divisions  being built on higher ground such as Hospital Hill and Garibaldi Highlands. I will have my boat launch ready when the sea levels rise!

Anyway, I am happy with situation as it is and often look sideways to the snow capped mountains to realise how lucky I am. I rarely HAVE TO drive to Vancouver to shop and Squamish is a great compromise between Rural and Big City life. ...Good discussions too!