Flood signs shuffled in Harewood

NANAIMO – The city will scale back evacuation signs from 70 to 55 this week to reflect a reduced hazard zone.

The City of Nanaimo will shuffle evacuation signs in Harewood this week to sync up with a reduced flood hazard zone.

Nanaimo city workers will re-post and eliminate evacuation signage that shows people how to leave the flood zone downstream of the Colliery dams and head to higher ground.

The city installed 70 signs last year as an interim mitigation measure after the B.C. Dam Safety Branch classified the dams as being a public safety risk in extreme weather or a major earthquake.

Golder Associates has since found the structures are in better condition than originally thought and will stand up longer in a flood.

The hazard area has reduced by 70 per cent of its previous size, but with a spillway capacity problem, there’s still a hazard according to Toby Seward, the city’s acting general manager of community planning and protective services.

“There’s a lot of discussion in the community about the importance of these signs and should we have them or not and by all means, from our evaluation by our consultants, engineers have said yes there’s still a hazard there, so we have to make sure we accurately reflect that hazard,” he said.

As part of a sign reorganization, the city will move 15 signs to reflect the new hazard zone and reduce its total postings to 55. All the signs will be removed once the city acts on a long-term solution for the dams.