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

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