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Contract awarded for takedown of Trail dams

Project involves removal of 3 earthen dams, one concrete core dam, and restoring 30.6 H of wetlands
Visitors to Waneta Plaza can read about the Violin Lake Dam decommissioning project and see models of the area affected in the mall’s centre court. Photo: Sheri Regnier

Trail council has moved one step closer to decommissioning the Cambridge Creek Dam and Violin Lake Dam by awarding an $800,000 contract to Sublatus Environmental.

The company was the lowest of three bids for a scope of work that includes providing heavy equipment with skilled operators and materials for retiring the dam and completing stream, riparian, and floodplain restoration.

This contact, however, is contingent on the City of Trail finalizing funding agreements and permissions with the provincial and federal governments.

“The city is closely working with the provincial and federal government to formalize funding details for this project,” John Howes, Trail engineering technician, advised council. “A public announcement will be made when all funding agreements and permitting for this project are finalized.”

The city and regulatory agencies say they are working toward the common goals of environmental, social, and economic benefits of decommissioning the dams this year, in addition to land rehabilitation.

The project will involve the removal of three earthen dams and one concrete core dam, and the restoration of 30.6 hectares of wetlands and streams.

After the spring freshet in 2020, the city lowered the water levels in the lake and reservoir to complete the proposed decommissioning plan submittal.

In preparation, the city and the B.C. Wildlife Federation sent in specialty consultants to lay out a comprehensive field review.

“This site visit for data collection was essential for developing a detailed preliminary design,” Howes said.

Data collection consisted of surveys, aerial imagery, channel assessment, geology, slope stability, creek and lake geomorphology, environmental reviews, including bioclimatic zones, endangered species, fisheries, and inventory of aquatic/terrestrial wildlife and plant/plant communities at-risk.

Since 2020, the city said there has been a noticeable increase in recreational activity, both motorized and non‐motorized, in the Violin Lake and Cambridge Creek area even though the land is closed to the public.

Safety of trail users is an added concern when decommissioning because the proposed construction in and around the site involves using large equipment and big trucks delivering large loads of material.

For that reason, site specific video surveillance and fencing with signage at key locations will be combined with public notices.

Read more: Trail considers removing historic dam

Read more: Local man awarded $3M after Violin Lake crash

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Sheri Regnier

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