City wins award for work to fix underground coal hole

NANAIMO – B.C. Municipal Safety Association awarded Nanaimo with the City of Excellence, Innovation in Safety award this week.

The City of Nanaimo has landed a provincial safety award for its work to fix an underground coal hole.

The B.C. Municipal Safety Association presented Nanaimo with the City of Excellence, Innovation in Safety award this week for taking steps to address safety when it found a collapsed 19th century mine beneath a road surface in 2013. The recognition highlights excellence in underground disturbance practices.

Cathy Cook, executive director of the safety authority, said it took extra work on behalf of the municipality to make sure the public and city employees were protected after a collapsed mine was discovered and the steps taken were nothing short of amazing.

“They had to be innovative and creative in establishing safe procedures for their workers,” she said.

A drilling exercise along Victoria Road and Pine Street last October found that a shallow mine had collapsed a couple of metres beneath the surface, creating an eight-metre deep void. Rick Kroeker, the city’s manager of health and safety, said winning the award is great and a reflection on the whole safety program the city has.

It is the third recognition the city has received for its safety practices. It won the City of Excellence Gold Standard award in 2010 and an honorable mention in 2011.