Estimates sought to rebuild dams

The city is embarking on a concurrent two-stage plan to determine cost estimates for rehabilitating or rebuilding two Colliery Dam Park dams slated for demolition while continuing work to remove the dams and re-naturalize the Chase River.

At its Dec. 17 meeting, city council, after listening to community members concerned with the removal of the dams, agreed to undertake a conceptual cost estimate to find alternatives to removing the dams.

The study is expected to take about three months and cost $60,000. The dams have been slated for removal in the summer when water flow is at its lowest.

Council originally voted in October to remove the dams at a cost of $7 million because of an inherent risk to life in the event of an earthquake or extreme rainfall event.

“The desire to see cost estimates for the rehabilitation or rebuilding of the Colliery Dams from those members of the community who are interested in saving these structures has been heard clearly by council,” said Mayor John Ruttan in a release. “I am confident the two-stage plan staff has outlined will effectively address the questions around rehabilitation or replacement costs and what these costs will equate to in terms of meeting public life safety objectives.”

The firm Klohn Crippen Berger has been retained to perform the conceptual level cost estimate. It is the same company retained by the city to perform the removal of the dams.

The city will issue a request for proposals in early January for an engineering consultant to do a peer review of KCB’s work.

Tom Hickey, Nanaimo’s general manager of community services, said the work will have to be done soon as the timeline grows tighter with the tendering process for the dams’ removal expected to be issued around April or May.

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