Water commission members split over Cruickshank dam feasibility study

An engineer has said a dam might not prevent sedimentation issues but could be helpful in terms of water volume management.

Members of the regional district water committee were divided over the cost of conducting pre-feasibility work to determine if a dam on the Cruikshank River would be a viable solution for flood control, water storage and turbidity prevention. Initial cost estimates are $180,000 to $250,000.

An engineer has said a dam might not prevent sedimentation issues but could be helpful in terms of water volume management.

Courtenay director Erik Eriksson was encouraged by the cost-sharing potential with TimberWest, which owns the dam site and access to the site. But Area C director Edwin Grieve foresees a “daunting issue to try to take this on,” considering the number of players involved.

“We’re fighting a bit of a losing battle with a water plant (mandated by Island Health),” Grieve said. “Whether or not we want to lay out another $200k on a feasibility study, I would not be in favour.”

Likewise, Comox director Barbara Price could not support a $250,000 expense.

Courtenay director Larry Jangula suggests not throwing in the towel too quickly, but instead garnering input from the provincial government and the farming community.

“What director Eriksson is talking about is following up on exactly what they had asked us to do,” Jangula said. “I think this has some potential. We keep hearing it from people in our community about wanting us to be greener, wanting us to have more access to electrical cars and getting away from fossil fuels.”

Comox director Ken Grant questions how the district can garner anything positive considering the challenges faced with constructing a dam on the Cruikshank — which accounts for about half the inflows to the Comox Lake reservoir.

Innergex, a Canadian power producer, has been investigating construction on the Cruikshank for over 15 years. Their proposed dam — for hydro power generation — would be four to seven metres high with less than 100,000 cubic metres of storage. According to the company’s engineering manager, a dam for water regulation purposes would need to be higher and accommodate at least five million cubic metres of storage.

“Innergex had not been successful in negotiating a land purchase agreement with TimberWest,” said Zoe Norcross-Nu’u, engineering analyst with the CVRD.

TimberWest is concerned about possible interference between heli-logging and power transmission lines.

“Flooding the valley with a new reservoir would also reduce their harvestable land and impact their active road networks,” Norcross-Nu’u states in a report.

Other dam construction challenges include fish passage, water licensing, environmental impacts, First Nations considerations and impacts to BC Hydro operations.

“Even if it were shown that a dam would be helpful in addressing the issues of turbidity, drought and/or flooding, a water treatment plant would still need to be constructed,” Norcross-Nu’u told the committee.

Just Posted

School for students on Hornby Island ‘normal as can be’: portables expected in new year

While it’s not an ideal situation, the return to school for students… Continue reading

Christmas comes early for residents of Cumberland Lodge

It’s Christmas in September at Cumberland Lodge. The Rotary Club of Cumberland… Continue reading

Big Beach Cleanup builds awareness of ocean debris impacts

First two cleanup days brought in 40 cubic yards of plastic and styrofoam

Rain and high winds to hit Vancouver Island this afternoon

Thursday and Friday to see downpour of 20 to 50mm and high winds on Vancouver Island

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in 22 per cent of B.C. cities

Most Read