Nanaimo considers investigation into Colliery dam issue

NANAIMO – Terms of reference have been created for an investigation into the Colliery dam process.

Nanaimo city council could put a magnifying glass on the three-year Colliery dam issue in a new investigation.

Council agreed to move forward with a fix for the lower Colliery dam in an 11th-hour decision in July, but not without calls for an independent investigation that would focus on problems and issues tied to engineering, governance and public engagement.

Two councils and a technical committee grappled with the question of what to do to remediate the Colliery dams. the issue prompted public outcry, a B.C. government order and will cost taxpayers upwards of $2.6 million.

The issue first landed in the public arena in 2012 when city council announced a decision to demolish the dams and naturalize the park to address safety hazard concerns by the province. Council has since decided to remediate the lower dam with an auxiliary spillway.

It has yet to decide the fate of the middle Colliery dam.

According to a report to be considered by council at its meeting Monday (Oct. 19) night, an investigation will ask the question of how the process leading to the city’s decision on the Colliery dams could have been better. It would be undertaken by an investigator from outside the City of Nanaimo and will be independent and neutral of city council.

The cost is not yet known.

Mayor Bill McKay said the Colliery dams is a “very complicated file” that as you learned more, you started to make new decisions.

He hopes to get a chronology of events from someone with fresh eyes.

“It will hopefully set the record straight in a factual manner without a motion, without preconceived ideas, as to what happened from start to finish,” he said, adding there’s a tremendous amount of misinformation about the Colliery dams and how the city got to where it is today.

Coun. Jerry Hong said the investigation is not about finding blame for the process, but how to avoid this issue again.

With other dams, Hong wants this to be a learning experience.

Coun. Gord Fuller was unaware the investigation was going to a public meeting and might ask council to hold off on a decision.

“We didn’t see a rush to do this. I want to get this one right,” he said.

But when it comes to an investigation, Fuller said if there’s any question of wrongdoing in the spending of $8 million, they need to find out what it is.

 

Just Posted

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

According to a staff report, Regional District of Nanaimo has seen some $13.6 million in grant applications approved between Jan. 1 and May 15. (News Bulletin file)
Close to $14 million in money granted to RDN in first half of year

Successful grants include more than $4 million for transit service in Regional District of Nanaimo

A section of the rail corridor on Vancouver Island. (Black Press file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Put rail trail right overtop of the tracks

Removing tracks would be a horrendous expense, says letter writer

District of Lantzville Mayor Mark Swain, left, and Snaw-Naw-As Chief Gordon Edwards sign a memorandum of understanding outside Snaw-Naw-As Market on Friday, June 18. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Lantzville and Snaw-Naw-As sign memorandum of understanding

District and First Nation create joint working group

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read