Friday, August 29, 2014



For a long time one of the biggest mysteries is what was really driving the city agenda to get rid of the Colliery Dams. Being a total skeptic I never believed the official line about seismic safety from the beginning. I had already observed how city staff play the 'safety' card to manipulate city council and public opinion to get what they want. Remember the shiny new, $16 million office they had us build without going to tender? That was all predicated on the idea the old annex was such a death trap.

What I offer here is pure speculation that I think has enough merit for others with more resources than I to investigate. The new water treatment system has changed how Nanaimo water is treated and delivered. It will now be treated before leaving that fancy new $70 million treatment plant and is then kept in a closed system all the way to the new enclosed reservoir built on the Colliery Dam Park property.

Before this new system was put in place, there would be fresh water arriving at the old, open reservoir which could safely be diverted into the Chase River, and also supply ample fresh flowing water to maintain the two lakes in Colliery Dam Park. With me so far?

The  supply of fresh water has been so drastically changed with the new closed system that the salmon hatchery operated by VIU for years, has had to now be closed. Still with me?

What if, this whole new system has effectively robbed the Chase River and Colliery Dam lakes of a clean, fresh, free flowing supply of water, which is now replaced with chlorinated water flowing in this new closed system.

If the result of this lack of fresh water supply does what I speculate it might, then before long the lack of fresh water flowing into Colliery Dam Lakes and the Chase River will create two dead bodies of water, which would not be nearly as noticeable if it did not produce two huge, stinking pools of stagnant water, where two fresh bodies of water have been for 100 years.

Something to think about? Something to investigate? I certainly hope so. I would also hope that SFN takes a keen look at this hypothesis before they make decisions that could change the Chase River, fish bearing habitat forever.



  1. The Chase River is not a part of the water supply source for the city. Like most streams, rivers and creeks Chase River is dry.

    1. yes but the water from #1 reservoir used to come into the chase river to keep the lake levels higher

  2. If fresh water were available at the reservoir, could it not be diverted, when needed into the river, if it was not chlorinated?

  3. The argument for removing the dams doesn't exist anymore. The argument for changing the spillway to accommodate a flood risk is about to die an ignoble death. The new argument; that we must do something to the river to improve the fishery is about to be advanced by the committee for really dumb ideas. It’s a stupid, stupid notion that human intervention can do anything significant to the fishery by developing this extremely small watershed for the production of salmon.

    Yes, the city made a number of fairly poor decisions regarding where and when they chlorinate our water, but that is unrelated to all the other stupid decisions they made regarding the Colliery Dam issues. The same incompetent people made all these decisions. The problem is obvious, we don’t have to chase after an explanation or a motivation; these people are ignorant and incompetent. End of story.

  4. Dan Appell's argument is no doubt correct in so far as increasing the fishery potential is concerned. However, it's not a new argument. Self-styled fishery expert Charles Thirkill attempted to make the case for this many months ago in a letter to the News Bulletin -- however he failed to provide any information about the potential fish catch and no information about the cost of redmediating the watershed for this purpose.

    Further to this idea: There are many known salmon-bearing rivers and streams that have been spoiled or ruined by indusrial actvity. If money is to be invested in improving the salmon fishery, it should be directed to remediating these water ways. Efforts to induce a sustainable salmon fishery in rivers where there is no historical evidence of a fishery have by and large been expensive and not notably successful.


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