December 17, 2012 City Council Meeting

At the Dec. 17 City Council Meeting, the Colliery Dams Preservation Society presented options to City Council that demonstrated how public safety could be preserved without having to destroy the Colliery Dams.

Jeff Solomon presented first, and reviewed the history of this issue, why the CDPS was formed, and what was learned from our meeting with City Staff on December 6, 2012.

Lorne Gale, Ph.D. discussed the dam safety requirements and the risk assessments that drove the city to consider demolishing the dams.  Lorne discussed how a siphon could be used to drain the lakes very quickly, using two 700 mm pipes draped through the dam spillways. Lorne then presented his plans to remediate the dams, which meets all seismic and flood requirements mandated by the province, at a similar cost to what the City of Nanaimo has proposed for the demolition of the dams.

Steven Hill, P. Eng., Ph.D. then discussed power generation options for the dams, and showed that a 100 kilowatt hydroelectric facility at the middle dam and a 325 kilowatt facility at the bottom dam dam could return $3 million to the City over 30 years, and reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 480 tons per year.  This plan is that it doesn't affect recreational use during the summer, since there is very low to no water flow at that time.

Geraldine Collins summarized our position and discussed the possibilities of partnerships to make our proposals even more financially and socially beneficial.

The CDPS concluded by requesting that the City of Nanaimo commission a study to explore the feasibility and costs of remediating the Colliery Dams.