Nanaimo councillor wants city to consider third option on Colliery dam

NANAIMO – Advocacy group's engineering firm suggests alternative to options presented by Golder Associates.

The City of Nanaimo should take a thorough look at an alternative option proposed for the Colliery dams, according to Coun. Bill McKay.

The City of Nanaimo is moving forward with two multi-million dollar options for addressing flood risk at the century-old Colliery dams, but McKay says a third solution proposed by the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society should get a long, hard look.

GSI, an engineering firm working with the preservation society, has estimated it will cost less than $3 million to address the dams with its alternative overtopping method, although city staff members say the concept needs to be developed further. It’s estimated the option would require additional evaluation for a $200,000 cost.

Toby Seward, the city’s director of social and protective services, said the city will likely pursue a request for proposals if it looks at alternatives, which would invite companies to bid on the same design. But McKay believes the parameters would exclude GSI and wants the city to investigate the shortcomings and benefits of the alternative outside an RFP process. He will ask for an investigation at the next council meeting Aug. 11.

Nanaimo city staff will also present a report on the Colliery dams, which recommends a meeting with Golder Associates. For more information, and to see recently-released technical reports on the Colliery dams, visit