Harewood residents refuse to accept destruction of dams

NANAIMO – People choose to reside in an area that could be impacted by an earthquake.

To the Editor,

The City of Nanaimo is concerned about liability regarding the dams at Colliery Dam Park.

We all choose to live in this part of the world with the acceptance that we reside in an area that could be impacted by an earthquake.

This is true for many places including most of California which has a population of about 38 million people. Richmond is basically at sea level and there is a strong possibility most of that city would be underwater in the event of a quake.

It is a question of what level of risk is considered to be acceptable.

A Colliery Dam Preservation Society survey of the people most likely to be impacted should the dams fail – those living in the floodplain – indicated they want the dams to be upgraded to a safe standard and the lakes to remain. (Ninety-two per cent of 90 homes polled).

These people are the primary stakeholders according to the inundation study.  Their voices need to be heard.

Council was rushed to make a quick decision in an in camera meeting without adequate information and decided the dams had to be removed.

It seems the thinking was that the only way to avoid a public backlash was to rush this through without an opportunity for discussion and to insist it was an emergency. We know this was not the case.

The dams are in the same condition now as they have been for a number of years and have been described as being stable.

Now that council has directed other options  be considered, we have concerns  whether this process  is sincere.

Residents of Harewood have great pride in the community and will not accept this incredibly special place being destroyed. It is time for city council to stand up for the citizens – those they were elected to represent.

Rather than being known for destroying something that is so incredibly vital to our community, we urge city councillors to be remembered  for protecting a precious part of our past and our future.

There is so much information and much of it is misunderstood by the general public. The results from contracted engineers will be available shortly.

I have proposed a public discussion occur with members of council and people from our group. This would be a great opportunity for questions and answers.

We think an open forum, separate from a council meeting, would allow for the community participation that was lacking from the beginning and provide council with valuable information for the important decision they will be asked to make.

Jeff Solomon

Colliery Dam

Preservation Society