The Colliery Dam Preservation Society is a group of citizens that first met on November 13, 2012 to discuss the City of Nanaimo's announcement that the historic Colliery Dams in Colliery Dam Park were to be demolished.
Led by Jeff Solomon, this group is working to save one of Nanaimo's most important treasures.
Our founding principles are simple:
- We are committed to maintaining and enhancing the safety of our friends and neighbours, the residents who live downstream from the Colliery Dams.
- We object to the undemocratic way that the City of Nanaimo has made a decision about the future of one of Nanaimo's most beautiful parks entirely without public input.
- We are certain that there are options available that preserve two of the most beautiful lakes in the city, while keeping people downstream from the dams safe.
- We will engage with the City of Nanaimo in a constructive, collaborative way to see that this decision overturned.
- We are committed to improving Colliery Lake Dams Park now, and into the future, once the continued existence of the lakes and dams is secured.
We are interested in working with all local citizens and organizations who agree with these principles and believe that the decision to demolish the Colliery Dams is a tragic mistake. Contact us or Volunteer to get involved.
20 Excellent Reasons Why the Colliery Park Dams Decision Needs a Sober Second Look
- The Dams are in stable condition and have been for many years;
- Rehabilitation options have been included in reports to the City for many years;
- New schools are built to 1:2475 probability risk and the new emergency wing at the hospital to 1:3,000 probability. Society accepts this as a reasonable risk;
- There are reasonable, doable options for dam rehabilitation to a 1:3,000 probability risk;
- The park and lakes are well used by residents for swimming, fishing, hiking, dog walking and finding peace;
- A constantly used venue for schools for educational and recreational purposes;
- The 40% chance of a probable dam failure was not stated by an engineer;
- City Staff did not discuss rehabilitation possibilities with the Dam Safety Branch;
- These 100 year old dams are considered stable and the Dam Safety Branch accepts the Emergency Evacuation Plan that reduces risk;
- The Dam Safety Branch was only pressing for a credible plan and are flexible as to time line to complete the work;
- If a severe rainfall event were to occur, city staff have determined people in the flood path have up to 4 hours to several days to evacuate and avoid danger;
- A simple siphon could be employed to lower the dams if danger were imminent;
- The social value of these lakes, has never been determined by public input, but rather the opinion of city staff seems the sole determinant as to the dams fate;
- The park and reservoirs provide considerable wildlife habitat which will be lost as will the potential for educational and recreational purposes;
- In 2009 City staff told the engineer that removal was the only good use of tax dollars, a policy decision not made by council;
- No consideration has been given to incorporating hydro power generation, which would be a source of revenue for decades to come;
- Public input has never been invited and seeking the wishes of the public has never been done by staff or council;
- Rehabilitation of these dams has been presented as an option to removal but apparently were not seriously considered;
- Costs of work provided by city staff can only be described as ‘guesstimates’, the figure of $20 - $30 million was never provided by an engineer or contractor;
- City council has heard reliable, professional opinions as to the options for Colliery Park Dams which would provide affordable, continued, safe and improved use of this valuable community resource, which is of great value not only to residents in the immediate area, but the city of Nanaimo as a whole. It is typical of what makes Nanaimo – Nanaimo and why so many people choose to move here and share our piece of paradise.