Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Letter to the Editor, Idlewild Dam

Letter to the Editor
In light of the flooding disaster in Cache Creek last week, I‘m calling on the City to release the Urban Systems safety study on the Idlewild Dam and the letter from the Regional Dam Safety Officer to the City. I’ve read both documents and believe every Cranbrook resident should have access to them because they raise grave concerns. I say this in light of the fact that the safety officer said in her Jan. 27, 2015 letter to the City that only one of the 11 safety recommendations made in the Urban Systems’ report had been carried out by the City at that date and that the recommendations “must be implemented and cannot be continually deferred.” She also said the City should complete “high priority” items within a year such as investigating the geotechnical stability of the dam and making improvements to the dam’s spillway capacity. Has the City allocated money in the 2015 budget to do this or is the City just looking for grants to do these critical projects sometime in the future? Public safety is at stake here as well as liability for the City. The officer also pointed out in her Jan. 27 letter that the City had not submitted its Operation Maintenance and Surveillance manual for the dam and was therefore out of compliance with provincial legislation. Has this situation been rectified? Is the lake being drained “to protect the public” as Mayor Pratt said in the City’s Feb. 24, release. If that’s the case, is anything being done to save the fish, turtles, waterfowl and wildlife that depend on the lake habitat? How long are Cranbrook residents going to be deprived of this prime recreational asset? Did Council consider Urban System’s recommendation to “armour” the downstream face of the dam to increase its safety in the event of water spilling over the top? If this was done, the dam likely wouldn’t have to be “decommissioned” (removed) nor the lake drained and we wouldn’t be in this mess now. After beginning to drain the lake, the City asks for input. But how can the public provide informed input when it doesn’t know the facts because of a Council decision made behind closed doors? In conclusion, I believe the City has nothing to lose and much to gain by being more forthcoming with the public about the Idlewild Dam issue. After all, we all live downstream of this critical facility.
Gerry Warner

The editor notes:

“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever”

Thanks for asking the questions Gerry.

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