Letters to the Editor

Dam disaster isn't likely to happen here

To the Editor,

Re: Burst dams would be like a 10-tonne bomb, Letters, Jan. 28.

The amusing letter from Charles Thirkill certainly attempts to keep some determined efforts to destroy our park alive by portraying the dams as the greatest menace that Nanaimo has ever encountered. My thought is that he has been watching too many science fiction disaster movies. Dams can fail but it is wise to keep in mind that no dam has ever failed due to an earthquake in the history of Canada. Dams also don’t get washed away every time that it rains. We have had a lot of rain over the last 100 years. Last winter we were told that dam failure due to flooding will take a day or more. It is not instantaneous.

People are legitimately confused. Last winter, sirens were said to be ineffective and signs were unnecessary. The Dam Safety Branch was satisfied with the city’s emergency planning. Now we have sirens, signs, and panic mode when it rains during one of the driest winters on record. Good to be conscientious, but also wise to use common sense.

There is incorrect information in the letter. The Dam Safety Branch never ordered the dams to be removed. Its role is to insist on a plan to correct any inadequacies.  This is currently being done by qualified engineers.

Money was wasted when the city decided not to abandon the plan to remove the dams as we requested a year ago. Options for remediation and the estimated costs will be known in a few months.

In the interim, I suggest that everyone support the current process which will allow for a successful outcome.

Jeff Solomon


Alarmist projections don’t help matters

To the Editor,

Re: Burst dams would be like a 10-tonne bomb, Letters, Jan. 28.

If dam failure led to the kind of devastation predicted by this writer, why did the recent flood emergency drill at John Barsby Secondary School have students walking out of the school rather than moving to a higher level in the building? Either that emergency plan is deeply flawed or there is no great danger in the unlikely event of a flood.

It’s not clear what kind of bomb the writer has in mind, but the comparison isn’t a meaningful one in any case. Alarmist talk based on wild projections and garbled science really doesn’t help.

Gregory Roscow

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