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Colliery Dam Information

Thank you for visiting the Colliery Dam Information page. This page will keep you up-to-date with work that is being undertaken to make sure that the lower and middle dams located in Colliery Dam Park meet required provincial dam safety standards.


The issue of how to address identified seismic and inundation risks associated with the two dams has been a work-in-progress since 2012. For background information on the chronology of events, dam safety standards, community concerns, different potential solutions, and the work undertaken up to October 2013, visit the Information Archive.

Also included in the Archive are copies of all reports, studies, and correspondence on the issue prior to October 21, 2013.

Current Process

On October 21 2013, the City of Nanaimo struck the Technical Committee with a mandate to focus on outcomes that only involve remediating the existing dams, using the following phased approach:

  • Phase 1: Review the existing data and direct additional data collection as necessary.
  • Phase 2: Develop option(s) for remediating the existing dams that will satisfy the requirements of the Dam Safety Section of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.
  • Develop plans for short-term physical alterations to the dams in 2014 to provide the necessary time to carry out the long-term strategy (if required).

Composition of Technical Committee:
The Committee is comprised of representatives of the City; Snuneymuxw First Nation; the Colliery Dams Park Preservation Society; and engineering firm Golder Associates. Committee facilitator Katherine Gordon was appointed on November 26 2013. Both Golder Associates and Gordon were appointed by the Committee after review of a number of candidates.

Role of Technical Committee:
The Committee is tasked with making viable recommendations on rehabilitation options to be reviewed by the City, Snuneymuxw First Nation and the Dam Safety Section.

The Committee has established the following objective in coming up with recommendations:

"Development of an environmentally minimally invasive, cost- and time-effective solution while satisfying required safety standards - i.e. a solution that addresses:

  • The safety of downstream residents and workers;
  • Dam Safety Section requirements;
  • The respective objectives of the City, Snuneymuxw First Nation, the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society and the community;
  • Environmental concerns, including fisheries habitat and ecology;
  • Cost-effectiveness; and
  • Having a timely permanent solution in place in 2014 if possible, but no later than 2015, with shorter term mitigation in place if required in 2014."

The Committee's recommendations are to be made to the Executive Committee, which is comprised of City senior staff and Snuneymuxw advisors directed by the Chief. The Executive Committee oversees the Technical Committee and if necessary provides guidance and advice to the Technical Committee.

Decision-making process:
In due course the Executive Committee will provide commentary and recommendations to the Policy Group (Mayor and Council/Snuneymuxw Chief and Council) for consideration and discussion. As owner of the dams, City Council must make the final decision on which rehabilitation option to pursue and any short-term mitigation options required before permanent remediation takes place. The parties involved at the table agree that this is a fair, credible process to follow.

Click on the updates below for more information on the work of the Technical Committee to date:

Click on the City information bulletins below for more information about the technical work that is taking place around the dams from time to time:


Please read the questions listed below.  Having reviewed these questions, if you require any further information, please call 250-754-4251 and a representative from the City will speak with you.

When will a decision be made about the dams?

The objective is to have a permanent solution in place in 2014 if possible, but no later than 2015, with shorter term mitigation in place if required in 2014. A decision is expected within the next few months.

Who will make the decision?

The decision on a permanent solution for the dams will be made by City Council, after discussion by the Policy Group.

How much will it cost to deal with the dams?

The costs of the chosen method won't be known until the work of the engineers to develop options has been completed. The Technical Committee has included in its objective that the chosen option be cost-effective.

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