Ian Bruce, executive coordinator of the Peninsula Streams Society, points towards the pond created by Reay Creek Dam. It is not clear yet whether Sidney will be able to coordinate renovation of the dam with plans by the federal government to remediate the pond. Sidney has scheduled an open public house for Jan. 30 at Greenglade Community Centre to provide an update. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney to host open house to update residents on Reay Creek Dam project

Final designs for the project are expect in April

An open house scheduled for next month will update Sidney residents on a local dam.

Greenglade Community Centre will host a public open house Jan. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. to update the public about the Reay Creek Dam Project.

Sidney had first announced in November that it would hold the information session as council approved the hiring of Kerr Wood Leidal to design the dam renovation at a cost of $174,500.

Council had earlier approved plans to renovate Reay Creek Dam in place. Transport Canada acknowledged earlier that its past activities on nearby Victoria International Airport had contaminated the pond created by the dam and is promising to clean it up. But it is not clear yet whether Transport Canada will coordinate its remediation work with Sidney’s renovation work.

RELATED: Sidney councillor accuses Ottawa of being uncooperative over Reay Creek Dam

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Ian Bruce, executive coordinator of the Peninsula Streams Society, said doing both projects simultaneously would have financial as well as environmental benefits because the pond created by the dam would only have to be drained once. But these benefits might hinge on an important condition.

“For the two projects to operate concurrently in the same place runs into difficulties if it is not the same contractor,” he said. “The same contractor would be able to internally work out the timing and the space of the work. If [Sidney’s work] is a separate contract and [Ottawa’s work] is a separate contract, and you got to ask two primary contractors to get along, that might present some difficulties.”

Bruce said he remains hopeful that something could be worked out. If Sidney could do its work on the pond-facing side of the dam at the same time as the federal government, it would be unnecessary to fully drain the pond for a second time, he said.

Final designs expected for April are said to offer additional information about whether the projects will happen simultaneously.

Sidney has earmarked $900,000 for the remediation of the dam with the funds coming from some $1.9 million left from the sale of the municipality’s old fire hall and adjacent parking lots with $174,500 going towards design and the rest going to the actual dam construction work.

Estimates released in November peg the actual construction cost at $720,000 with refined figures not available until April 2020.

The status of Reay Creek and the pond created by the dam as fish-bearing habitat limits any work to a window open between June and mid-September.


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