Friday, July 3, 2015

Colliery Dams on Council Agenda Monday July 6 at 4:30

The mayor has stated publicly
that only about 40 people
are actively involved
with the Colliery Dam Issue. 
He should know better. 

The Park is on the Agenda once again this Monday, July 6 at 4:30.
The current topic will be regarding the stay and appeal process directing the City to choose one of two remediation options for the lower dam. The stay has been denied and there is a demand to choose between 2 options by July 24. 
It seems apparent that City Staff will be recommending the alternate emergency spillway (swale) for the far side of the bridge at the lower dam. It would empty into Harewood Creek and allow for more than twice the capacity of our existing spillway. The swale would be between 10 and 30 meters wide and up to 5 meters deep and would cost between $3 and $6 million.
Five Councillors, Fuller, Kipp, Hong, Bestwick and Yoachim have supported a proposal for work to be done at the middle dam this year and that a select committee be set up to establish what might be required at the lower dam. The proposal is similar to that put out by CDPPS on April 17 and we support their proposal. 
The Mayor, 3 councillors, and DSS do not support this proposal. 
We urge anyone who is available to attend the council session
this coming Monday at 4:30.
The mayor has stated publicly that only about 40 people are actively involved with the Colliery Dam Issue. He should know better. 
—  Jeff Solomon

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bill Yoachim inadvertently omitted
from list of supporters.

I apologize that our Blog left out Bill Yoachim as another candidate who has supported our efforts to save the park.
Bill worked closely with Doug White and their efforts prevented council from giving the order to start the bulldozers. 
Bill has stated openly on a number of occasions
that he remains very supportive.
—  Jeff Solomon

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Colliery Dams Update: Nov 3 Council Meeting

Motion adopted at the November 3rd council meeting:

  • review water distribution in overtopping situation and how it impacts overtopping flow rate;
  • review capacity of existing spillway; and
  • review concept of alternate swale/drainage course to Harewood Creek

Update: We returned to Council on Nov. 03 and asked for two further studies which were also staff recommendations. We wanted clarification of the spillway capacity, as there are differing calculations in the reports. We also want a determination of where the water would disperse should it ever exceed the spillway in Noah’s major storm. This information is important to understand the impact this storm would have on the dam. The cost of these studies was to be between $6,000 and $12,000. Council also decided to accept City Staff’s further recommendation to spend between $20,000 and $30,000 to provide preliminary designs for an alternate swale/drainage course to Harewood Creek. While this is an option that may have merit, we pointed out that it was premature to proceed with this study without having spillway and water distribution information.. We do not wish to see further money spent until it is established that it is necessary.
The newspapers have not been presenting a good account of the information and it will be up to us to write our letters. 
The points to be made are (and please do not cut and paste but use your own words. It is much more effective, even if it is only a few sentences):

1. No fatalities expected in 1,000 year flood event (risk assessment done spring of 2014) and only a minimal risk in a 50,000 year event.

2. No fatalities expected in a seismic event.
3. Getting information about the lower dam and how it would respond in an extreme flood event is important to knowing what needs, or doesn’t need, to be done, rather than making conservative guess’.
4. Take time to get information before spending money where it may not be necessary. Is it wise to spend $30,000 for an option that might not be necessary?
5. Urge new councilors to get as much information as possible so they can make informed and responsible decisions.
6. We now know that the Colliery dams do not present a big risk to our community based on the engineers reports, especially the ‘in depth’ risk assessment. It is time to consider what work is really necessary.
7. Will the other dams In our region need to go through this kind of scrutiny? Will they have the same criteria applied to them, with the astronomical costs attached? If not, why not?
8. CDPPS members should continue to be involved with decisions regarding studies and any related work.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank those on the current council who have been instrumental in helping us save the dams in our park. They are Jim Kipp, Fred Pattje, Bill Bestwick and Bill McKay. Although they were, for the most part, in the minority when important dam decisions were made, their effort to represent us was extremely important for achieving the success we have. We would also like to thank four people who are new candidates who have supported and walked with us from the very beginning of the Dam adventure: Brunie Brunie, Jim Taylor, Leon Cake and Gord Fuller. They have all, in their unique ways, brought strength to our cause and without their knowledge and commitment we would have had a far greater challenge. The Dams issue has seen a community rally in an amazing way. My hope is that the new council will reflect the call for community engagement that has been so lacking from the majority of our current council.

Note from Jeff Solomon: As some are aware, I am running for a school trustee position. I have become familiar with candidates, for both council and the school board and would be happy to give my impressions. To contact me email:

Thank you for your support for our park.

—  Jeff Solomon

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Update from Jeff Solomon

I realize that things have been quiet on the dam front and I would like to give you an update.
Council, in September, agreed to have CDPPS approve the scope of work required for a study on how the dams would react in a flood event. We are requesting the study to determine if the dam wall would withstand the never before flood event predicted to happen sometime in the next 50,000 years. The next step, if there is a question regarding how the wall would respond would be to explore how the berm on the back side of the dam would react (erosion) and how it would support the wall in this event. Basic questions that have never been answered.
We were to meet with the engineer on Thursday October 9 but it was delayed. We are now on hold until next week and will probably go back to council on Oct. 27.
The City staff have removed some flood signs but are refusing to take them all down as we had insisted. (The risk assessment document states that no one is expected to die in a 1,000 year storm event.)
Please pay attention to the upcoming election.
I have been asked many times if I am running for council and I have declined. I could not really advocate for the park if I sat on council. City councilors are also required to attend many meetings and read huge numbers of documents, neither of which I am a fan of. I am, however, committing to running for the School Board as I think that I can fulfill the requirements of the job. I especially would like to support the Cedar community as I believe the facilities plan was very poorly thought out and a huge loss for the community.
Progressive Nanaimo
I also am a founding member of Progressive Nanaimo; supporting positive change in our City’s governance. Progressive Nanaimo is holding its second NEW Candidates meeting, scheduled for Oct. 14 at 6:30 at Beban Park. A third meeting will be held on Oct. 23 at 6:30 at Bowen Park. Both these meetings will give the public a better idea of who the new candidates are. Please attend one or both if you can. An informed voter is a responsible voter.
We have learned a lot about City Hall in our 2 years fighting for our dams. This is our opportunity to make good choices on election day.
Also please check out the Progressive Nanaimo facebook site for information about the new candidates and events being held. Should be very a interesting time over the next month for both the park and the election. Will keep people posted as events unfold..
Also don’t forget
Dam Zombie Halloween Party
at the Lower Dam.
All are welcome. Sat. Oct. 25 at 5:30.
October 14, 2014 - Beban Park 6:30 New Candidates meeting.
October 23, 2014 - Bowen Park 6:30 Second New Candidates meeting.
October 25, 2014 - Lower Colliery Dam – Dam Zombie Party

Thank you for your ongoing support for our park.
Jeff Solomon