Colliery dam committee created

NANAIMO – City council agrees on terms for new committee, despite warning from senior staff member on compressed time frame.

A Colliery Dams Select Committee will be struck as the city works to meet a provincial order in an “incredibly compressed time frame.”

Nanaimo city council agreed 5-2 Monday to  terms of reference for a new select committee, despite a senior staff member’s warning the work will prevent the city from meeting deadlines under a provincial order.

The City of Nanaimo  is under order by the province to complete remediation of the lower dam by Nov. 15. Staff members proposed terms for a new select committee but Coun. Jim Kipp presented additions Monday, including that the committee provide a consultative role prior to the installation of the auxiliary spillway, provide input into the final design and recommend further studies.

It also includes two members from the general community, as well as members from the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society, Snuneymuxw First Nation and council.

Kipp called the altered terms important and one that includes the public but Toby Seward, the city’s acting general manager of social and protective services, said the city wouldn’t be able to meet deadlines and is already under a more than incredibly-compressed time frame.

The province has also sent a letter to the city pointing out that it’s only met two of three requirements for compliance, he said.

“We have five weeks to be in a position where we tender and if we have committee input during that five-week process … there will be lots of questions back and forth and there will be no decisions.”

Coun. Bill Yoachim, who put council on notice he plans to call for an intermediary on the Colliery dam issue at a later date, said he thinks they can still hit the deadlines.

“To say we can’t get this committee up and running is ludicrous,” he said.

Mayor Bill McKay and Coun. Wendy Pratt were opposed.

Councillors Diane Brennan and Ian Thorpe were not at the opening meeting.

Pratt said the Dam Safety Section sent a letter that’s clear they still have issues with the motion council made last week.

“We finally picked a remediation option and we need to move forward with it,” she said.

“I will not vote on anything that doesn’t have that first and foremost in the front so that everything that the comptroller is asking for in the order is followed and followed on the timelines that they have given to us.”

Yoachim and Kipp were chosen to sit on the new committee.

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