Colwood locals know that Lookout Lake is the best place for a refreshing swim on a hot summer day. Most people don't think about the dam that holds the lake in place. It was built in 1958 by a private forestry company.
The City performs weekly inspections of the dam as well as automated water level monitoring to record any changes that may indicate an issue with the dam.
A 2017 dam stability assessment determined that the dam requires remedial measures to ensure it meets current safety standards. Specifically, the dam must protect the safety of people living downstream in the event of a major earthquake.
Several options were considered by Committee of the Whole on Monday, August 19, 2019. In simplified terms, the options include:
- Upgrading the dam (with no changes to use of the lake) at an estimated cost of $1.3M
- Replacing the dam (with no changes to use of the lake) at an estimated cost of cost of $4.4M
- Removing the dam (with loss of the lake) at an estimated cost of $1.1M
There are federal grant opportunities available that could fund a significant portion of this work.
The staff recommendation is to upgrade the dam so that the lake is maintained and that an application for grant funding be submitted.
Watch for updates about the committee's recommendation to Council following the August 19 meeting.
UPDATE: August 20, 2019
At their meeting on August 19, 2019, Committee of the Whole recommended to Council that City staff proceed with preliminary design and costing for the upgrade option of buttressing the dam, and an application for a federal grant to help offset the costs. The Committee also asked for an additional public meeting to hear from the consultant who did a geotechnical study on the dam. Next, the decision is expected to come to Council at the regularly scheduled meeting on August 26th.
UDATE: August 27, 2019
Colwood Council adopted the recommendation to move forward with the Rockfill Buttress option to upgrade Lookout Brook Dam and preserve Lookout Lake. They also directed staff to move forward with an application for a federal grant to help offset the costs.
In order for staff to complete the application, they will need to obtain preliminary buttress designs and Class B cost estimates. Those details are expected to come back to Council before the grant application deadline of October 25, 2019.
All decisions will be pending the outcome of the grant application, which the City will be advised of in January 2020.
UPDATE: February 2020
Colwood was successful in obtaining grant funding in the amount of $730,370 from the UBCM Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for safety upgrades to Lookout Brook Dam.
City staff will finalize the design and work plan in coordination with partners, including geotechnical consultants, the BC Dam Safety Officer, the Freshwater Fisheries Society and others. Regular public updates will be provided as work plans are finalized. The work is expected to be completed within 2020.