This component is called the Cambridge Dam Spillway. The spillway functions to control the overflow occurring during the spring freshet. (City of Trail image)

This component is called the Cambridge Dam Spillway. The spillway functions to control the overflow occurring during the spring freshet. (City of Trail image)

Trail takes first steps to decommission old upland dam

New requirements have greatly increased the compliance costs with dam safety regulations

The City of Trail has taken first steps to retire an old network of dams that has gone unused for 25 years.

Previous: No plans to decommission Violin Lake Dam

The city doesn’t need the storage from Violin Lake and the Cambridge Reservoir, and has long maintained that the cost of continued operation and maintenance of the levees far outweigh the benefits.

The municipality is not going it alone, however, as this is a broad-scoped undertaking that will take time and will involve public feedback, notification and funding support.

That’s why Trail council has stamped its approval on a shared contribution agreement with the British Columbia Wildlife Federation (BCWF) for what is being called the Cambridge Creek and Violin Lake Decommissioning Project.

As part of first steps, at the cost of $140,000, the city has endorsed the Rossland Streamkeepers to produce a 3D model and letter of support that can be used for public engagement and grant applications.

The city’s John Howes says the Rossland Streamkeepers have experience in fabricating accurate 3D watershed models, mentioning the group has worked with Selkirk College and Midas Fab Lab in the fabrication of a 3D model of the Trail Creek Watershed.

Previous: City of Trail considers getting rid of old dam

Previous: Trail man awarded $3M after Violin Lake crash

“This model has been successfully used in Streamkeeper outreach for public and school sessions to promote awareness of our local water resources,” Howes said.

As far as the wildlife federation being part of the project from the onset, Howes says the BCWF Wetlands Program is dedicated to assisting communities with the restoration of wetlands for improving habitat for wildlife and fish.

“The BCWF has developed highly effective techniques for restoring wetlands, streams, and floodplains that involve the removal of dams,” Howes explained. “And the BCWF also organizes and instructs a variety of training courses across British Columbia where individuals may learn of the many values of wetlands, and how they may be restored to improve habitat for wildlife and fish.”

This project gained traction in 2019 in response to the Dam Safety Officer changing the consequence classification of Cambridge Creek Dam from “High” to “Very High.” The regulatory requirements of the new classification have greatly increased the cost of compliance with Dam Safety Regulation.

Later in the year, representatives of the city, the BCWF and the Rossland Streamkeepers performed a comprehensive field review to understand the current dam system and the extent of the fish and wildlife habitat.

“Once on site, the potential benefits of the dam decommissioning project became obvious,” Howes, the city’s engineering technician, reported to council. “After the stakeholder goals and objectives were defined, a preliminary cooperative agreement was drafted,” he explained.

“This includes a project ‘Action Plan’ and cost estimate for the decommissioning of the dams.”

The undertaking is comprised of two distinct phases.

The first stage is technical, and will focus on decommissioning the infrastructure, including potential adverse effects.

Phase Two, tentatively planned for 2021, will layout the actual implementation plan to decommission the dam, and will involve a detailed budget as well as the final design and receipt of approvals for the project.

“The approach being recommended by staff provides an economic way of proceeding with a complex matter,” Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff said. “This cost compares favourably to a quote that was obtained in 2014 for similar work that exceeded $300,000 and further supports the recommendation now being advanced.”

The City of Trail owns the upland water storage and supply system, which includes Cambridge Reservoir and Violin Lake and their respective dams.

Also included in this system are: a siphon from Violin Lake to Cambridge Reservoir; and a water intake structure on Cambridge Creek.

This upland system was used as a water source for Trail’s municipal water system until 1994.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of TrailinfrastructureWater

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Cambridge Dam spillway. (City of Trail image)

Cambridge Dam spillway. (City of Trail image)

Just Posted

Vases of red roses will be placed in remembrance at several locations in Trail on Monday. Photo: Jamie Street
Trail bridge goes red on Sunday to honour national remembrance

Every night in Canada over 3,400 women and their children are in shelters trying to escape violence

Interior Health says Salmo’s COVID-19 cases have been contained. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Interior Health: Salmo’s COVID-19 cases are contained

Every person who tested positive has recovered

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
81 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Interior Health Friday

One additional staff member at Kelowna long-term care home tests positive, no new deaths

Masks are mandatory indoors in all B.C. businesses. Photo: Black Press file
Think about the common good: wear a mask

Opinion by Trail Times columnist Louise McEwan

A pedestrian looks over a vigil set up in Nelson on Friday to mark National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women, which is held Dec. 6 to commemorate the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre that killed 14 women and injured 10 others. Photo: Tyler Harper
Demand for safe space increases in the fall at Nelson’s transition house

The eight-bed service for women and children fleeing domestic violence has been full since Oct. 1

A snow moon rises over Mt. Cheam in Chilliwack on Feb. 8, 2020. Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 is Mountain Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Dec. 6 to 12

Mountain Day, Dewey Decimal System Day and Lard Day are all coming up this week

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Montreal Alouettes’ Michael Sam is set to make his pro football debut as he warms up before the first half of a CFL game against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. Sam became the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL. He signed with the Montreal Alouettes after being released by St. Louis, but abruptly left after playing one game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Study finds Canada a ‘laggard’ on homophobia in sports

Among females, 44 per cent of Canadians who’ve come out to teammates reported being victimized

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Information about the number of COVID-19 cases in Abbotsford and other municipalities poses a danger to the public, the Provincial Health Services Authority says. (Photo: Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News)
More city-level COVID-19 data would jeopardize public health, B.C. provincial health agency says

Agency refuses to release weekly COVID-19 case counts, citing privacy and public health concerns

Carmen Robinson was last seen getting off a bus in View Royal the evening of Dec. 8, 1973. Her case remains unsolved 47 years later. (Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers)
Gone cold: Fate of B.C. teen remains a mystery, 47 years after her disappearance

Carmen Robinson, 17, was last seen exiting a bus near Victoria in December 1973

Most Read