No more late night skinny-dipping down at the dams this summer? You better believe it.

The City of Nanaimo has decided to drain the middle and lower lakes situated in Colliery Dam Park. This measure is said to prevent a potential flooding hazard which poses a threat to inhabitants downstream in Harewood.

But why wasn’t the public informed on the matter?

City officials made their decision during a closed session on Oct. 22. They stated that the decision to drain the dams is not up for public debate.

The cost to demolish the dams is projected at $7 million and will be paid for by reserve funds, while the cost to rebuild the dams to pass seismic regulations and extreme weather regulations would cost $20 to $30 million.

The 101-year-old dams were built with concrete that has recently hit the expiry date, and may give-way in the case of a future earthquake or heavy rainstorm. As a safety liability the city council technically has the choice to pass the motion without public consent.

A public information meeting was held at the Nanaimo Aquatic Centre on Nov. 5. Many citizens attended the meeting to vent their anger about the project and voice their opinions concerning the sudden measure.

South Nanaimo residents have become attached to the lakes and use them for swimming in the summer time, and fishing throughout the year. The Colliery Dam Park has become a landmark in the community of Harewood, and is home to many different species of animals including waterfowl and muskrats.

Colliery Dam Park is a historical byproduct of the coal industry, which the town of Nanaimo relied on to wash the coal produced by the mines.

Now over a century later, some welcome the naturalization of the area, others are holding on to a piece of Nanaimo’s industrial heritage.

Is this ruling a ploy to acquire potential land for residential development? Are there ulterior motives to the sudden and tightlipped decision, or is this a whole-hearted

precaution for public safety?

The draining of the lakes and demolition of the dams is slated for summer 2013.

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