Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Colliery Dam Park 2014 Calendars —
The Perfect Gift for Friends and Family

Our Colliery Dam Park Calendars would make the perfect gift for friends and family while supporting our efforts to keep our dams.  It is a meaningful reminder, throughout the coming year, of all that we have been fighting for.  Our community has been amazingly supportive, and continues to be, and now that we have a technical committee working on solutions, we are closer than ever. 

Please consider buying a calendar which not only will remind us of how important this park is, but of a community that stood up and said “No”.  It can be something we hand down to our grandchildren and tell them the story.

Only $20 ($15 for those with a slight imperfection).

Buy 5 and receive one free (get together with friends and buy together) This will be our last order for 2014, but we still have lots in stock.   This is a big fundraiser for our Society, so we are hoping you will consider buying a calendar.  You can purchase from us by phoning 250 753 0554.  If you would like to help sell we can arrange that too.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Special Announcement re:
Colliery Dam Technical Committee

Good news! 

The technical team, consisting of City Staff, Snuneymuxw, and Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society members have agreed on hiring Katherine Gordon as facilitator, and Golder as the engineering team, to assist in the process for re-mediation of the dams. 

They plan to come together in the first week of December to discuss how to go forward. 

There are many challenges ahead but this is a positive and crucial first step. We will have more information available on Tuesday at the community meeting (Barsby School Nov. 26, 6:00 pm about this and other topics.

Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mark November 26th - 6pm - on your calendar...

John Barsby School, multi purpose room
Tuesday November 26th - 6pm

 We will be giving an update regarding the Colliery dams in partnership with representatives from the City
There will also be a report from the 
Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society 
and you will be able to sign up for membership in the society. 

 This will be your opportunity to get answers to your questions, let the City know what you think and what is important to you. The new flood signs that have been put up will be discussed as they are a contentious issue. Unfortunately we were not consulted about this and we have considerable concerns about them. We have asked that they be removed once the dams are upgraded. 

There will be information regarding the technical committee and also about the potential of adding land to the park. We hope that we can help to clear up some of the confusion surrounding the dams issue. 

It is also a time to
celebrate what we have accomplished
in this past year together.

We did what many thought was not possible. Your presence and participation has been and continues to be important to our cause. 

 Hope to see many of you on Tuesday. 

Fundraising Calendars and T shirts will be available

Friday, October 18, 2013

Update from Jeff Solomon — Long Term Strategy Report For the Colliery Dams to go to Council Monday at 4:00

Council will be presented with the staff report for the process of the long-term strategy for the middle and lower Chase River Dams on Monday, Oct. 21 at 4:00. Please note 4:00pm not 4:30.

These are some of the highlights from the report: 

• The Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society will be involved with the technical committee which will focus on outcomes that only involve remediating the existing dams. 

• Dam Safety Branch has advised that if remediation of the dams cannot be completed in 2014, short term physical alteration need to be considered in 2014. These physical alterations, if deemed necessary, will be developed by the technical committee in the context of the long-term strategy. 

• Staff are recommending remediating the existing dams, as this option does not involve removal. 

Snuneymuxw has requested that Council and the community exhaust all efforts to keep the existing dams providing there is a desire to continue with dams on the Chase River. Snuneymuxw has identified that the primary goal for them in this process is to protect the fishery. 

 The CDPPS has consistently identified their goal is to retain the park, dams and river in their current form as much as is possible.

A facilitator may be included to assist in the process.

Information from the technical committee will go to the executive committee which involves City Of Nanaimo senior staff, Snuneymuxw First Nations and the Dam Safety Branch. Policy Group is next which has mayor and council, SFN and Province (DSB) involved. Council then has final say.

More info at www.nanaimo.ca/goto/dams

My thoughts: There is a lot of good in this proposal. It sets an entirely new agenda with every intention to rehab the dams. However, there are also a lot of ifs and unknowns. Time will tell, but we now have what appears to be a true desire to improve the existing structures. There is no talk of removal or renaturalization. I have concerns with the time frame attached as they are suggesting the process may not be finished until 2015.

Also everyone will have to get ready for the arrival of 80 signs downstream. These signs may not be supportive of the message that we are attempting to convey. We didn’t have any input here.

I will be at Moose Lodge on Sat and at the Park on Sunday to fill people in further, and I will also be speaking at the COW mtg. on Mon.

I also have calendars. They turned out really well. $ 16 for ones with a slight imperfection $20 others.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Press Release — A New Progressive Path Towards a Constructive Plan for Preserving the Heritage Value and Social Benefits of Colliery Dam Park

The Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society would like to thank the City staff and Council for developing a plan which will provide immediate risk mitigation and give the City and other concerned stakeholders time to discuss and develop long term mitigation solutions. We are optimistic that we are on a progressive path towards a constructive plan for preserving the heritage value and social benefits of having these dams in the park for the future.

The short term risk mitigation developed for the dams is a very thorough plan and one that may produce the added bonus of being a template for an emergency plan for the whole city. As any event that would be of a scale that would cause the dams to fail would also be one that would cause wide spread devastation in the city, creating a city wide emergency preparedness plan would be a sensible move. We are grateful that the people in Harewood will have the benefit of this plan but we think all of Nanaimo residents should also have the same consideration.

As we move forward the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society is hopeful that common sense and cost effective methods will be pursued, while keeping residents safe from actual and real risks as a priority. As there is new information regarding the status of the dams, which should decrease the consequence rating, common sense would indicate repairing the dams could be a fairly straight forward and cost acceptable option.

The Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society has attempted throughout this process to support the efficient use of tax dollars. We are hopeful that this will be a goal that we all work towards as we develop a plan for the future of the middle and lower Colliery dams. Our community has worked tirelessly and without cost to the city to provide research information that would assist City staff and we look forward to combining our resources with those of the City to find solutions. The Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society supports the safe upgrading of the middle and lower Colliery dams in a manner that uses practical methods and is not only mindful of tax dollars spent but also considers other important factors such as the values and needs of other major stakeholders.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Jeff Solomon's Letter in Response to
School District Chair's Letter
To Forestry Minister Thomson

Mr. Jamie Brennan
Chair, School District 68

I am in receipt of the letter that was forwarded to the Honourable Steve Thomson, Nanaimo City Staff, School Board personnel and the Dam Safety Branch. In it you have expressed a concern with regard to the Colliery Dams and the decision made by the City on August 07, 2013 to cancel the tender for their removal. As our group of concerned citizens was specifically mentioned in this motion, I thought it prudent to offer some feedback. 
The motion was passed unanimously by Nanaimo City Council with the expectation that a short term risk mitigation plan be brought to council at the first available opportunity (Sept 09, 2013). It was further moved and seconded that Council continue to engage the Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Colliery Dam Preservation Society, and the public and return at the first opportunity to Council to adopt a new strategy to deal with the long term mitigation of risks associated with the dams. This motion was also carried unanimously. Finally, Council also directed Staff to provide a recommended process that outline the key steps and estimated completion dates of each step that will focus the organization on diligently addressing the life safety and property concerns that have been made known to City of Nanaimo Council and the community. This recommendation should take into consideration the commitments of City Council to thoroughly engage Snuneymuxw First Nation and the community at large as identified in the 30 day process that has recently been completed. The motion carried unanimously.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Facilitator's Report to City of Nanaimo and Snuneymuxw First Nation on Colliery Dams 30-day process.

Facilitator Katherine Gordon's August 3 2013 report — link here.

Also, here's the audio file of Katherine Gordon's summation of the July 31st stakeholder's meeting —

On Wed July 31st facilitator Katherine Gordon chaired a meeting of the SFN, the City and stakeholders including representatives of the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society. Click on the icon to link to the audio files of facilitator Gordon's summation.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Update from Jeff Solomon
July 31 Dam Safety Branch Letter
Note from Ian Howat

Update: Last letter from Dam Safety Branch to Bill Sims, City of Nanaimo, Manager Water Resources link here.

Note from acting City Manager Ian Howat
We have an obligation to look at a variety of short term options, but having said that our focus is on addressing the risk to the people downstream rather than physical alterations, partly as a result of the clarity KCB has provided to us around those short term physical alteration options that have been presented to us. (siphoning/pumping/lowering the spillway/lock blocks). We are winding down our work with KCB and have no intention of conducting any new design work or look at new options until the collaborative process starts this fall.
 It is our intention from a staff perspective to recommend to Council to proceed with another engineering firm to help us move through the collaborative process that we hope to achieve for the long term mitigation strategy. But, we have to get over this immediate issue of short term mitigation and we are working hard on having a draft ready for next week to discuss with Snuneymuxw and the SCDS Committee

CDPPS is supportive of least intrusive measures regarding short term mitigation rather than any alteration to either the dams or spillways. The floodplain remains a floodplain with or w/o the dams and so any alert system in place is simply being reasonable and prudent.

Update Report from Roblyn Hunter
Letter to Acting City Manager Howat
Key Info from the Inundation Study

The saga of the Colliery Dams continues. We had an extremely lucky break with Doug White, Chief of Snuneymuxw First Nations intervening at the July 8th Council meeting. As a result we now have a different process, but we are unsure what that will look like. Ian Howat has said that the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society will be included in the decision making as short and long term mitigation is being considered. We are now waiting for this opportunity. 

One concern we have is that we were told that the same inundation study is being re run inputting different information. Even if they were to change the standard to 1:5,000, and if they use the conceptual costs from KCB, it would be financially unacceptable to the community. We will continue to press for accountability for information, money spent on studies, and pursuing common sense methods and options.

My letter to Ian Howat with copies sent to council members and Snuneymuxw representatives

Dear Ian Howat,
Thank you for inviting us to a meeting with you this last Friday August 16th. It was encouraging to be told that your staff will be looking at all options regarding the Colliery Dams and that we will be invited to participate in that planning. We would like to re affirm that we would very much like to participate.

As per our conversation I am sending some information that you were not aware of and I believe is extremely important in going forward. First I have included the description of the software models that were used in the inundation study for the Colliery Dams for you to look over which you will find below. You will find a description of the model used for the Westwood Inundation study on page 11 of the 2004 Westwood Inundation study, under the heading Hydraulic modelling. You will quickly see the difference is the addition of 2 dimensional modelling for the Colliery dams study.

Upcoming Events and Celebrations

Save the Colliery Dams Community Potluck Picnic
August 25 —

at the Lower Colliery Dam
Fun and games for the whole family!!

Team Scavenger Hunt - bring your cellphone/camera, each team will need one for this hunt
Water Balloon Race Three Legged Race
Potato Sack Race Dock Race
Bottle Pickup Elephant March
Bocce Ball Magnetic Fishing
Musical performances The Dam Poets
Face painter

Fraternal Order of Eagles Fundraiser

WhereFraternal Order Of Eagles No. 15, 245 Fraser St., Just up the hill from Mrs. Riches..
WhenSeptember 7th 3pm to -11pm
Joseph Goldstein and the fine folks at Aerie No. 15 are going to help us raise funds and awareness. It looks like a fun time to come. We need to sell some tickets...

Admission is $15.00 (with a gourmet burger and a beer), with $9.00! going to us.
$.50 from each drink sold goes to us.
A 50/50 Draw will be held, with all money received to us..
A series of raffles will be held; proceeds going to us.

Doors open at 3pm and food will be served from 4pm, til 6;30pm. There will be a Vegan option. Thank you to Columbia Bakery for donating bread, :), and to Quality Foods for burgers and condiments.

Then raffles, the 50/50 draw, and some speeches by our people.

There will be entertainment to follow - Shawna Severinski, of Smartass Entertainment will host Karaoke.  Thank you for donating your time, Shawna !

Also, we will have a t-shirt table selling both Colliery Dam Society and Dale Schulz's custom shirts. Thank you to Dale Schulz, Miranda MadDam Burns, and Trish Kuziek.

These people are donating raffle prizes...  Thank you to:

Alberni Outpost: Two 3 Hour Kayak Rentals
Francine MacKenzie Roberts: Afghan
Jolly Miner Pub: $50.00 Certificate
Little George's Restaurant
Mid-Island Co-Op: $50.00 Gas Card
Superette Foods: $50.00 Certificate
Underground Skate

It's coming together nicely, y'all.. We just need to sell some tickets If you want tickets, call Terry at 250 667 1884...

Or, these fine businesses have kindly agreed to sell some tickets for us:
House Of Indigo, 6 Church St. 250-754-1022
The Green Store, 256 Wallace St. 250-754-2554
Superette Foods, 687 Albert St. 250-754-2554