On New Year’s day, members of the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society held a small demonstration to gather messages of hope towards the preservation of the dams.
Supporters gathered by the lower dam and wrote down their New Year’s resolutions towards saving the historic Nanaimo landmark and personal memories of the park. The promises were then ceremoniously burned and the ashes were distributed through the dam.
Jeff Solomon, spokesperson for the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society, wrote that all he wanted for Christmas was to ensure that the dams would be preserved for future generations to enjoy. “That’s certainly the big one for me and probably a lot of other people because it’s such an important part of their lives,”Solomon says.
Solomon, who is originally from Montréal, says that the city does not realize the untapped natural beauty of the dams and says that Montréal residents would “kill” to be blessed with a park of this caliber.
He says that the group has received a lot of support towards their grassroots intuitive to save the Colliery Dams which are slated for removal in summer 2013. “Everybody thinks that it really stinks and would be a humongous loss,” says Solomon of the City’s decision to remove the lower and middle dams in Colliery Dam Park. “It’s helped us to continue to struggle on because it’s been really hard.”
The decision to remove the dams was made by city counselors in a closed session last Oct. The City claims that the decision to remove the dams was based on an engineering assessment that concluded that the hundred year old dams had reached the end of their service life, and claim that the dams pose a potential safety risk to citizens of South Nanaimo.
Environmental activist David Cutts has a different approach to preserving the dams. “We intervene when common sense does not prevail,” says Cutts, who acts as the communications coordinator for Veterans of Clayoquot, a direct action group who were jailed to protect an old growth forest near Tofino in the 1990s. Cutts and the Veterans of Clayoquot were also involved with the two year occupation of trees in Cathedral Grove.Both of which succeeded in the protection of old growth forests.
“We’ve never actually lost,” says Cutts, who was also involved in the protection of Mount Benson amongst other environmental victories. The activist has located a tree near the lower dam of which he plans on occupying if city council is not swayed by the Save Colliery Dams group. “If Jeff’s group is not treated with respect and if the citizens aren’t satisfied that city hall is doing the reasonable and logical thing — then we step in.”
For more information on the Colliery Dam Park Preservation Society, visit their facebook page at <www.facebook.com/groups/SAVEcollierydams>.