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2020 Spit & Nexen changes

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by raquo » Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:00 pm

As you might know, the future of windsurfing and kiteboarding at the Spit is uncertain due to ecology society's ongoing estuary work. Squamish Windsports Society will have their AGM next week, and they confirmed that the mayor and other decision makers will attend.

We need to show up to demonstrate that a good deal of people care about maintaining access to sailing sites in Squamish. Personally me and some friends will be driving from Vancouver to Squamish for that. I understand that this might not sound very exciting, but spending a bit of time once a year to protect our sailing interests for years to come is a very good bargain.

I did check with SWS that everyone concerned is welcome, not just current members. "We would like to see all members of the public that are interested in access to windsports in Squamish". So no excuses!

2019 SWS AGM details:
- Norman Rudy's, 40900 Tantalus Rd, Squamish
- Tuesday, November 26th
- Doors open at 6:30 pm, meeting starts promptly at 7 pm

For the record, I'm not affiliated with SWS, I just think that showing our support is important. Cheers.
Last edited by raquo on Thu May 07, 2020 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by imdmitry » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:42 pm

I heard that next year there will be no access to Nexen.
It could be a disaster if Spit will be un accessible as well.
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by raquo » Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:10 am

So, long story short, the situation with sailing access in Squamish is looking bleak. SWS needs a few volunteers to get our voice heard. Below are my notes from the AGM. This is not an official transcript by any means, just my understanding of the situation given what I heard.

Nexen highlights:
  • Nexen will be unavailable for two seasons. They need to move a lot of earth to shape the shoreline, and they're also laying down underground infrastructure for the actual buildings.
  • Nexen park will be the first phase of construction, and after it's built, access will resume while the rest of the development would be ongoing. No more details on that so far.
  • Nexen will be a small beach, only 80 meters across, and we would need to share that beach with other watersport users (although not swimmers).
  • Nexen beach will have kiteboarding hazards – a monument on the west side, and rock piles on west and east sides that will stand from 2 to 7 meters tall depending on the tide. SWS provided feedback on that but this is unlikely to change.
  • It was said that the park in aggregate will have 120 parking spaces, however I don't believe that. It is probably a misunderstanding. I saw the plans, and unless I'm misremembering, there were nowhere close to 120 parking spaces for the park. Maybe 20? I believe parking will be heavily constrained as this area will be very busy.
  • So, in summary, Nexen is not a feasible replacement to the Spit.

Spit highlights:
  • The Squamish River Watershed Society is planning to cut off the spit road to let the water flow from the river into the estuary to save the salmon. Not just a culvert, they plan to demolish large part(s) of the spit. There are no plans to build a bridge, and we don't know if it's even feasible.
  • The watershed society is in charge of estuary restoration. Their work is funded by DFO and maybe provincial government, and they do not care about us. We will lose all access to the Spit unless we do enough work to prevent that. As I mentioned before, Nexen will not save us, and there are no other suitable launching spots around Squamish that we could develop.
  • On the other hand, the town of Squamish recognizes that watersports are a critical to the town's future, so they're supporting us. So at least we're not standing alone.
  • The port ("terminals") are also affected. If the water starts flowing through estuary, it will bring sediment to the port, requiring expensive dredging at regular intervals. However the port seems to be pretty quiet at the stakeholders meetings, SWS is not sure why.
  • Given where we are right now, it is extremely unlikely that we will be able to maintain access to the spit the way it is right now, where you just drive up to the turnaround. We need to come up with a win-win-win solution that would satisfy us, the port, and the watershed society, and push for that.
  • The current solution ideated by SWS is a pedestrian (no cars) dyke west of the port, extending off third ave. That would mean moving the "spit" east to be closer to the port, and connecting it to 3rd ave, the road that leads to the port. In an ideal world this could be a good solution – we get a larger spit, watershed society gets their water flow, the port remains sheltered from sediment, and the town gets extra traffic via downtown which brings more business.
  • However, SWS lacks the manpower to push this project to the watershed society and other stakeholders, and determine technical and economical feasibility of it. They will be forming a subcommittee to work on this, and they really need help from a variety of people including those with any knowledge or experience in engineering, earth moving, architecture, marine biology, as well as people who have experience dealing with provincial and federal governments. They also need just about anyone who's willing to put in some time for other tasks like communication, research, cost estimation, making an economic case for windsports, and raising awareness of this issue among target groups who could support us. They are also seeking corporate sponsors for potential development. If you or anyone you know could help with any of this, please contact SWS.
  • The watershed society will spend 2020 planning spit removal. They will probably start actual work in 2021. This isn't a "ten years from now" problem, this needs intervention right now, or else 2020 will be the last year we get to enjoy sailing at the spit.
  • Please email if you would like to contribute your time to saving the Spit. You don't need to be an engineer or marine biologist. SWS needs around 25 volunteers to work on various aspects of this project. The handful of people on the board can't pull it off alone. And just to clarify, this is not full time work of course. It's up to you which skills and how much time you can contribute.
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by Ryan » Thu Dec 05, 2019 3:15 pm

From the article:

Tobe said it’s unclear when the realignment will happen, but added that if any work is done, it will not impact the 2020 May to September kiteboarding season.
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by LeopardSkin » Fri Dec 06, 2019 5:05 pm

Here are some excerpts from the AGM minutes:

Discussion of the Newport Development
Construction is set to commence in April of 2020.
It is expected that there will be no public access to this entire area for two full seasons.

Discussion of the Estuary Project
It is looking unlikely that you will drive out to the Spit in 5 years.
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by LeopardSkin » Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:38 pm

Latest news is 2020 season will continue as usual.
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by Brian C » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:44 am

Did you get an update for Newport or is this just for the Spit? Thanks Tony.
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by LeopardSkin » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:35 pm

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by telus022420 » Thu Feb 27, 2020 7:40 pm

What's the Woodfibre ferry terminal like?? From what I can remember the wind is light in the area, but could be an alternative to Newport beach for a short while. It has a dock for small boats so maybe a dock launch?
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