Nanaimo city council agreed to fix the lower Colliery dam and abandon its appeal of a provincial order in an about-face Monday.
Nanaimo city council unanimously voted to move ahead with an auxiliary spillway option estimated to cost between $2.8 and $4.6 million on Monday, just shy of the comptroller’s July 24 deadline. It will also drop its appeal of a provincial order to the Environmental Appeal Board.
The decision is a turn-around from an earlier vote that put the city at risk of breaching a provincial order. While the province had called for construction plans for the lower Colliery dam by July 24, a structure that must be fixed by mid-November, city council’s earlier decision did not include any remediation for the lower structure. It called for terms of reference for a new select committee that would study the Colliery dams, with a staff report brought back by July 27. It also chose to focus on a remediation solution for the middle dam.
On Monday, the mayor proposed council re-consider a previous motion for an auxiliary spillway and an end to the city’s appeal to the Environmental Appeal Board. Coun. Bill Yoachim countered with an eight-part motion of his own that council recessed to consider. It also involved meeting the province’s July deadline, preparing a conceptual plan for the middle dam and investigating the Colliery Dam Park process including issues and problems around engineering, governance and public engagement.
The Colliery dam technical committee would become a select committee and play a consultative role during installation of the new spillway and council would write a letter to the province outlining concerns around process and the handling of the matter.
Council supported the motion unanimously and it passed without discussion.