Interim safety measures in action for Colliery dams

Nanaimo city council approved a new short term mitigation plan for the Colliery dams. Bigger question of structures' fate to be addressed.

A Nanaimo city councillor is urging spending precautions as short-term safety plans for the Colliery dams are put in motion.

Nanaimo city council voted unanimously to act on new short-term mitigation measures for the Colliery dams Monday.

The strategy, geared to roll out over the next seven weeks, will use water monitoring, neighbourhood information blitzes and new warning sirens to scale back potential hazards posed by the middle and lower dams. There will also be community emergency drills for 1,800 people that live immediately downstream of the century-old structures —which the B.C. Dam Safety Branch has designated as an extreme public risk during a major earthquake or flood.

Council members thanked those involved in the plan for finding ways to address public safety issues in the interim, but some worried about costs. Coun. Jim Kipp said he was concerned about spending money on an “unprioritized emergency and safety risk,” while Coun. Bill Bestwick urged city staff members to use caution when acting on the new strategy.

The new measures are expected to cost between $50,000 and $100,000, but could go as high as $200,000, according to Toby Seward, the city’s  general manager of community safety and development.

The expense will add to the $700,000 already spent to determine the fate of Colliery Dam Park and is expected to come from this year’s budget.

While protecting public safety is important —“Surely I trust we will be very cautious in our expenditures as we move forward with some of these suggestions,” Bestwick said.

The new plan was created with the help of the community groups like the Colliery Dam Preservation Society and Snuneymuxw First Nation. Jeff Solomon with the preservation society, said he hopes the initiative will eventually be used as part of a city-wide emergency planning framework.

The initiative will involve new emergency information signs around the Harewood neighbourhood and sirens similar to Tsunami alert systems in Tofino and Port Alberni. City officials are now seeking sole-source contracts to install the  siren systems and  help address other key projects in the  short-term mitigation plan.

Brian Clemens, the city’s director of finance, said money spent will come out of this year’s budget and will not affect taxes in 2014. But the initiatives prelude the larger question of what happens to the dams over the long term. The answer could hold tax implications for Nanaimo, he said.

“I don’t want to downplay the amount it’s cost for design…or mitigation, but the actual capital project—what we are going to do with repairs or removal—is going to be the most expensive part of it,” Clemens said.


Just Posted

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Laid-off Casino Nanaimo workers launch class-action lawsuit against corporation

Notice of civil claim filed on April 6 at Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo

Beban Pool is expected to re-open Oct. 4 after a vote by councillors at a finance and audit committee meeting Wednesday, June 16. (News Bulletin file photo)
City of Nanaimo will re-open Beban Pool in October

User groups warn COVID-19 pool closures have left a gap in water safety education

Beef to the lady who went onto my property then proceeded to take my large plant from my home. I found out and asked for it returned. You said I was dramatic? You should be ashamed of yourself.
Beefs & Bouquets, June 16

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts’s body was discovered near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Lotto Max player in Nanaimo wins $500,000

Campbell River lotto player wins $1 million in the Tuesday, June 15 draw

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Accident closes Highway 4 between Port Alberni and Tofino

Watch DriveBC for updates on road closures

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 4 deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-staff as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Most Read