Nanaimo council approves spending on third remediation option for Colliery dams

NANAIMO – Up to $400,000 allotted for engineering consultants to prepare designs.

City council will spend up to $400,000 to help decide a remediation route for the Colliery dams.

At an open meeting Monday, council opted to spend up to $400,000 for work leading up to a remediation decision and to hire engineering consultants to prepare designs, costs and timelines that that will help compare three possible solutions.

They also agreed to ask for a 30-day extension to deadlines laid out in an order by the B.C. comptroller of water rights so they can explore an option of dam-hardening and beautification – a proposed third solution which isn’t considered to be as well-developed as options of an $8.1-million labyrinth spillway solution or $3-million to $6-million auxiliary spillway already on the table.

Deadline extensions will give council another month to decide on a remediation route, although a staff report warns the new timeline will make it “extremely difficult or impossible” to complete remediation in 2015.

Engineering work will focus on the third option, but there will also be an effort to get good comparisons on cost and invasiveness for all choices for council to review, according to Toby Seward, the city’s acting general manager of social and protective services.

To date the city has spent $2.35 million on the dams.

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