Coal era responsible for today’s issues

NANAIMO – Re: Colliery Dam decision now lies with council, May 4.

To the Editor,

Re: Colliery Dam decision now lies with council, May 4.

Around the turn of the century, Nanaimo’s coal industry needed water reservoirs to wash coal and thus built the Colliery dams.

Since industry typically does not accumulate reserves to dismantle facilities at the end of their lives, once the mines shut down the city became the proud beneficiary of a couple of water reservoirs on the Chase River.

Knowing dams have a finite lifetime and are inherently dangerous – dam failures have resulted in thousands of deaths – the various city bureaucracies nevertheless opted to continue residential development in the Chase River flood plain and integrate the ‘lakes’ as a recreational feature.

The chickens have now come home to roost and the province has mandated something be done since its safety criteria for dam failure consequences are not met.

The question is, do you perpetuate a situation that resulted from industry delinquency and poor planning, or do you restore the area to its natural state and eliminate any future safety issues.

One must ask another question: If the city was given $10 million to $30 million to provide recreational and cultural opportunities for Nanaimo, would building two dams to flood land really be at the top of the list?

Fred Kardel