Colliery dam group withdraws from technical committee

NANAIMO – The Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society claims committee not looking at least invasive, cost-effective solutions.

The Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society has stepped out of discussions with the city’s technical committee, which it claims is not looking at the least invasive and cost-effective ways to remediate the dams.

In an official statement, the dam preservation society announced it has temporarily withdrawn from the technical committee, listing a series of grievances from a process it feels is not credible due to a lack of transparency.

The technical committee, made up of community members, construction specialists and city staff, was struck by Nanaimo city council last year to find ways to remediate the century-old Colliery dams. The organization has spent close to $800,000 on research so far, and recently announced that findings have shown there is an extremely low risk of a sudden or quick failure of the dams in an earthquake. It means a much lower level of remediation is needed to maintain safety.

Despite the work, the park preservation society suggests there has been no consensus on remediation options, “which have dramatic cost and impact factors” and it has become clear the committee “is not being directed by the goals of least invasive and cost-effective measures for dam remediation.”

It also takes aim at the transparency of the committee, calling for all documents from Golder Associates, as well as meeting minutes, current options and costs being considered for the dams be released to the public – and that the technical committee meets again in a month “to review and plan accordingly.”

Katharine Gordon, spokeswoman for the technical committee, and Jeff Solomon, spokesman for the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society, were unable to be reached for comment before press time.