Progress on Colliery Dams
Since reconvening the 30-day process to exhaust all possible options and considerations for the Middle and Lower Colliery Dams before awarding a tender for removal of both structures, the City of Nanaimo and the Snuneymuxw First Nation have been working closely together to make progress.
As part of that work, all parties, together with the facilitator, have met with officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the Province’s Dam Safety Branch to ensure they are aware of the discussion process and seek their commitment to working together collaboratively as a high priority.
"I’m pleased to say that thanks to the intensity of our efforts with both DFO and the Dam Safety Branch we have secured their commitment," said Snuneymuxw Chief Douglas White III. "We feel those discussions are opening up positive new pathways to viable solutions."
"We are very delighted that officials from the Dam Safety Branch have indicated that they are prepared to work with us as we examine various mitigation solutions, should we all agree at the end of the process that the best short-term path forward is to leave both dams in place for the winter", said Nanaimo City Mayor, John Ruttan. "Throughout our discussions, public safety has remained a priority for all parties; the need for a good mitigation solution is therefore critical".
Both the City of Nanaimo and the Snuneymuxw First Nation are continuing to work actively on gathering additional technical information on all of the options for the dams before August 8, when the 30-day period ends. The City has instructed its staff and consultants to review and re-examine the various studies and reports, along with the underlying assumptions in them, to ensure that all considerations are exhausted.
As part of this work, standards that were used during the original cost estimates to rebuild both dams will be revisited. These estimates – either for rebuilding or repair – were based on a "no maintenance" standard that would see the dams remain in good condition without need for repair following a catastrophic seismic event. Such a standard is higher than what is required by the Dam Safety Branch, which demands only that the dams not fail. To help inform the discussions, consultants are now comparing the potential costs and requirements of building to that standard.
Engagement with interested citizen groups continues to be identified as an important part of the process. Members of the public are invited to submit their views on the options for the dams to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 8th. The facilitator will be reporting to the City of Nanaimo, the Snuneymuxw First Nation and various community groups on the information received. Once briefed, all parties hope to be on a joint pathway concerning the future of the dams.
City of Nanaimo
Douglas White III Kwulasultun
Snuneymuxw First Nation