Colliery Dam Park is one of Nanaimo's hidden wonders.
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The 30 day time-out has produced an agreement to cancel the tender to take down the dams and find an "alternative path going forward". City Council to meet to ratify — Wednesday Aug 7th, 4:30 pm.
Jeff Solomon letter to 
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources

Dear Sir, 
As you are aware there has been an ongoing issue in Nanaimo regarding the Colliery Dams. Currently there are two facilitators involved in assisting the City, Snuneymuxw, and the community to come to an understanding of the best approach in addressing this complicated issue. The community is deeply committed to ensuring that the dams are brought up to an acceptable standard while retaining our lakes. City council made a commitment in May to replacing the dams. Our community has advocated for the least intrusive measures taken, in consideration of the eco-system and the community, while plans are formulated. I have had concerns about the role the Dam Safety Branch has played and was disturbed by our conversation with Glen Davidson upon his visit to Nanaimo on July 24. 

We were particularly interested in his guidance in maintaining the dams over the next winter before the finished plans are made for replacement or rehabilitation. During the course of our conversation in our meeting, Glen Davidson said that our group was in the minority and that perhaps the issue should be put to a referendum. He also talked about cost of dam maintenance and that there will be increased development in the floodplain, neither of which has anything to do with the dam safety branch but rather are civic issues decided by the city and its community. I thought his role was just to give information and make sure that dams are at an acceptable safety standard. This indicates to me that there may be a political bias. It confirms our suspicions that the DSB is not taking a neutral position. He showed no interest in having a tour of the dams or in discussing the new information which has become available which should affect any mitigation measures that are considered for this winter. The two letters that arrived on the day of council meetings (January 21 and May 13th) when we had prepared to present with information gathered from the DSB, contradicted what we had been told, and seems obviously City staff driven. This has been incredibly harmful to the process and leaves us believing the DSB information is not fair and equitable. Glen Davidson is the Water Comptroller. There are in excess of 200 objections to the city's plans for the dams. How are we to believe this will be an unbiased and fair process? Our city staff have only previously considered removing the dams this summer as an option and have discredited all other options. It is not helpful to have the DSB taking sides and fashioning their information to suit our city staff. For now we are concerned about either of the dams being removed this summer until there is a plan in place for next year. It seems unnecessarily harmful and costly, considering these dams were said to be stable since last June and now we know they are even safer than we knew then. Sincerely

Jeff Solomon 
Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society


WEDNESDAY, 2013-AUG-07, AT 4:30P.M. 

Agenda and Staff Report link: here
On Wed July 31st facilitator Katherine Gordon chaired a meeting of the SFN, the City and stakeholders inculding representatives of the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society. Clink on the icon above to link to the audio files of the meeting. Recommended: Jeffrey Solomon's opening presentation and facilitator Gordon's summation. Also engineer Lorne Gale, Thomas Warden, Laurence Reiper and former City Councillor Lloyd Sherry.
Aug 4 Update:
Snuneymuxw Chief White

The 30-Day consultation process initiated July 8th to explore all possible options and considerations regarding the future of the Middle and Lower Colliery Dams before awarding a tender to remove both structures has allowed all parties involved in the process to consider new information and agree to a proposed alternative path forward.

The Province’s Dam Safety Section, in conversations with the City of Nanaimo and the Snuneymuxw First Nation, has acknowledged they are open to discussing a mitigation strategy that would allow both dams to remain in place over the winter months while discussions surrounding the future of the dams, including whether or not to remove, rebuild or remediate both structures, continues.
*“The acknowledgement by the Province’s Dam Safety Section that they will not be issuing an order this year requiring the City 

 to remove the Middle and Lower Colliery Dams effectively provides all parties engaged in the current discussion about the dams more time to arrive at a mutually agreed to solution concerning their future”, said Nanaimo City Mayor, John Ruttan. “Public safety nevertheless remains critical through the upcoming winter months, therefore the City will work closely with all required stakeholders to build on the public safety awareness campaign and risk monitoring program introduced last fall”.

“We are happy to see this outcome, and glad Snuneymuxw could play a productive role on this matter working in conjunction with the City and the public”, said Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief, Douglas White III. “I thank Mayor Ruttan, his Council, and staff for the positive leadership and diligent effort shown since the re commencement of the 30 day period”.

A recommendation outlining this proposed alternative path forward is scheduled to appear before Council at a special meeting set for August 7th.

Colliery Dam Park Protection Society Website

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