Friday, September 04, 2015

Colliery Dams Spillway Contract Awarded

Shaw Auditorium Gallery Sept. 2/15

Auxiliary Spillway Contract Awarded
design drawings not complete

The saga that became known by many as the Colliery Dam Debacle which began Oct. 30/12 finally came to a close at the Sept. 2/15 Special meeting of Nanaimo City Council.

At this meeting Councillor Bestwick attempted to have an amendment added to the motion awarding the contract which would have allowed council more comfort with the project going forward. That amendment was defeated on a tie 4-4 vote with Councillor Yoachim absent. The motion to award the contract finally passed with Councillors Hong, Kipp and Fuller not supporting the motion which would have had support with Bestwicks amendment.

While this decision should see equipment in the park and shovels in the ground by Sept. 15 in an attempt to meet the Nov. 15 imposed deadline, I feel it safe to say that those opposed to this whole exercise are still very much opposed.

Members of the public who became involved in this story nearly three years ago, are to be commended for their engagement and persistence in persevering  in a process that was foreign to them and where 'all the cards were stacked against them, from the get-go'.

  • DAMS WOULD FAIL IN 3 MINUTES IN A SEISMIC EVENT (40% Chance in 50 years)
Those were the headlines the local press hung onto and gave little coverage to when they were all found to be based on false assumptions and lots of speculation. The fact Nanaimo taxpayers spent over one million dollars on P Eng reports that later proved were based on speculation rather than factual investigation is a point the local media still can't seem to grasp. Perhaps 'investigative reporting' means more than just calling up the city communication manager for an opinion and then parroting whatever you are told?

The seismic calamity claim would never have been disproven had it not been for the intervention of then-Chief Douglas White and the subsequent investigations of the technical committee (now including members of the public) which were able to disprove the original concerns about a seismic calamity. Proper investigation was able to show that the claim the dams would fail in a seismic event were shown completely in error and they might crack, but would not fail as had been previously stated.

This is the point at which the process seems to have gone off the rails and the technical committee under the direction of Mr. Toby Seward arguably took a wrong tack.

Once the new and more complete studies were advanced to the point that these assumptions/conclusions of dam failure were determined to be exaggerated the whole process should have been started again from square one under a new less urgent schedule and with proper budget and scope of work to eliminate as much as possible any doubt as to the actual details of as built construction, and other assumptions, speculation, extrapolations and opinions and replace these elements with facts to the extent reasonably possible. This was not done. Why? 

To this day the geometry of the dams is unknown or whether it is a gravity dam or an earthen dam. The true flow capacity of the spillways has never been measured, only calculated which is not the ideal method of determining flow capacity.

At the end of the day, Nanaimo taxpayers will have spent millions of dollars to satisfy the results of an arguably flawed, city staff-led study which is the basis for a Provincial bureaucrat putting a gun to our head requiring us to do work not proven necessary.


1 comment:

  1. Do you mean to say that with all the high-tech equipments available, the profesdional engineers that Canada has to offer, not to mention VIU, they still can not figure out those basic information about this dam? What a lot of bullocks/gibberish.


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