Violin Lake in 1953. Photo: City of Trail

Violin Lake in 1953. Photo: City of Trail

City of Trail applies for grant to decomission dams

Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation grant to restore Cambridge Creek and Violin Lk system

If all goes well, decommissioning of the Cambridge Reservoir and Violin Lake Dams may be paid for by a federal grant, and completed this fall.

Trail city council will pursue a grant from the Canada Infrastructure Program Stream – the Adaptation, Resilience and Disaster Mitigation (ARDM) that would potentially cover the cost of decommissioning the Cambridge Creek and Violin Lake Dams, and at the same time restore the respective ecosystems.

“Staff considered the programs in terms of priority project and what would be the best fit, and through discussions staff felt that this project … is the best project recognizing the high value of the project and almost 100 per cent of the money would be returned to the city if the project is successful from a grant perspective,” said Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff.

Read more: Trail takes first steps in decomissioning upland dam

The Cambridge Reservoir and Violin Lake system was the source of drinking water for Trail from 1919 to 1994, when the city switched to sourcing its water from the Columbia River.

In December 2019, the Dam Safety Officer ordered the city to either upgrade the spillway at the Cambridge Creek Dam or decommission the dam.

The ARDM program provides up to $10M in funding for flood mitigation infrastructure projects that reduce climate change impacts, natural disasters and/or extreme weather events with the intent of reducing, or even negating, the effects of flooding.

Municipalities may submit one application per intake. Trail is eligible to make a submission to this grant opportunity for the dam decommissioning and ecosystem restoration.

Councillor Cacchioni asked the CAO why the rate was so high in terms of the grant money available?

“I can’t speak to that, other than that governments are getting more aggressive in getting money out to cities’ that need it,” explained Perehudoff. “From the city’s perspective it would be a huge win for us in getting this done and not having to take money out of our water fund to do that.”

The ARDM targets near shovel‐ready projects that have a construction start date of no later than Sept. 30, 2021, and that can be completed by Dec. 31, 2021.

Trail staff anticipates the decommissioning of the Cambridge and Violin Lake dams would be scheduled for July 15 to Oct 1, 2021. However, as Mayor Lisa Pasin pointed out at council, the full project and further remediation may take more time.

The estimated total gross project costs (ARDM eligible and ineligible) is $2.1M. The city will have to cover about $45,000 of the cost, pending the approval of the grant application.

If successful, the Cambridge Creek Reservoir will be restored to resemble the riparian area downstream of the dam, which consists of a series of beaver ponds.

Violin Lake and Goodeve Creek will be restored to their original condition.

A professional engineer, fisheries biologist, wildlife biologist, and two wetland ecologists helped design the project so that it will improve habitat for fish, amphibians, and invertebrates by controlling erosion, restoring wetlands and floodplains, and by restoring pools and riffles in streams.

The City of Trail has also partnered with the BC Wildlife Federation to design and implement the project.

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