Skip to content

Otter Point dam demolition draws criticism

Officials fear a breach of berm could result in flooding
Work to decommission a dam at Carpenter Road Community Park to reduce the risk of flooding is expected to proceed this summer. (Rick Stiebe l- Sooke News Mirror)

Dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t.

Despite some criticism, work to decommission a dam in Carpenter Road Community Park will proceed this summer.

The province and the Capital Regional District have ordered the work because they fear a breach of the berm could result in flooding if it fails.

“I did not support this at all,” said Juan de Fuca Electoral Area Director Mike Hicks. “If it were up to me, I wouldn’t do it, but it’s a provincial government requirement, so we have no choice but to do it.”

Although Hicks doesn’t support the project because he doesn’t believe the berm poses a flood threat, he is pleased the work will proceed during the summer months when there is the least potential for disruption to wildlife and natural vegetation.

The funding for the work will come from provincial gas tax funding.

The CRD said in an email that the work, part of the CRD Juan de Fuca Parks and Recreation Program, involves partially decommissioning the earthen dam in Carpenter Road Community Park.

The dam was not constructed to any engineering specification and had several issues that will be addressed by returning the pond and outflow system to its historic location.

The work is scheduled for late July or early August at an estimated cost of $40,000. That time frame was chosen because water levels are at their lowest, with the most negligible impact on nesting bird species, aquatic species, and downstream water quality. Efforts are being made to mitigate and reduce potential impacts on vegetation, wildlife, area residents and visitors.

Dams in B.C. are subject to the Dam Safety Regulation under the Water Sustainability Act, administered by the B.C. Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resources Operation and Rural Development.

Partial decommissioning will address orders to mitigate the potentially catastrophic failure, which could impact landowners downstream.

Landowners have been notified about what is planned and provided with the opportunity to comment before the work begins.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

About the Author: Rick Stiebel

Read more