The city will spend the next year figuring out a solution for the middle dam at Colliery Dam Park, with hopes there will be no need for physical improvements at all, according to Toby Seward, acting senior director of strategic operations.
The City of Nanaimo and Golder Associates proposed a plan to assess safety hazards for the middle dam this month in an attempt to satisfy an order from the B.C. Comptroller of Water Rights.
The comptroller slapped the city with a formal order for the dams earlier this year, with tasks and deadlines for work on two concrete structures at the park. The city has since kickstarted construction on an auxiliary spillway for the lower dam, with a six-month extension to complete the remediation.
The city and Golder Associates pitched a five-step process Dec. 23 to meet a requirement for a revised conceptual plan for the middle dam, due at the end of the year and are now waiting for a reply.
Seward said the city and engineers told the B.C. Dam Safety Section the best approach was to deal with the lower dam first and mitigate problems with the construction of the auxiliary spillway, with the hope it would be sufficient to get the city to a point where it wouldn’t have to make improvements to the middle dam. The analysis is to confirm with engineering studies there isn’t a severe safety risk, he said, adding that the goal is to get to a place where it’s monitored with an emergency plan instead of doing physical improvements.
The approach for the middle dam includes risk assessment and coming up with remediation options. If approved, the majority of work would be carried out within the first six months of the year, a letter from Golder Associates shows.