The water level is lower than usual in Colwood’s Lookout Lake to help ease pressure on the dam during safety upgrades.
Nanaimo-based contractor Windley Contracting Ltd. is working to shore up the dam on both the upstream and downstream slopes. Work is expected to continue until December.
The dam at the popular summer swimming hole was built in 1958. A 2017 assessment by an engineering consultant determined that Lookout Lake needed to be brought up to current seismic safety measures. In Feb. 2019, Colwood received $730,370 from the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for the project.
The city says upgrades are projected to come in under budget, potentially affording the chance to direct leftover funds towards park upgrades, such as trail improvements, a washroom and seating.
Currently, there is a single port-a-potty on a cement block for visitors, as there are no sewer line connections.
“It’s a great idea, but adding all this extra stuff might ruin the beautiful natural area up there,” said Coun. Doug Kobayashi. “I’m not completely against it, but it’s hard enough to get a parking spot nearby. I’d rather see it preserved to be as natural as it could be.”
Coun. Dean Jantzen has previously expressed his desire to consider adding more benches and tables and ensure the area is a good swimming environment for park visitors.
The province’s Dam Safety Branch of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Sustainability rated Lookout Brook Dam as a high consequence dam due to the amount of residents who could be affected should it fail.
If the dam broke, the spillway route would flow towards houses along Maureen Terrace and Sunheights Drive and past the intersection of Sun Estates heading further down into residences along the sloped hill.
Staff have reached out to the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC to help manage the fish during the work.
The lake was stocked with 250 rainbow trout from the Fraser River three times since March. Re-stocking the fish will be held off until the project is complete. all for it, but practicality.
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