QC’s Sturdy Creek dam to be demolished

  • Feb. 9, 2011 9:00 a.m.

BC Hydro is moving forward with a plan to decommission a small concrete dam that has not been used in many years. Built in the 1940s, the four-metre high, 11-metre wide Sturdy Creek Dam has completely filled in with earth and the creek now runs over the top of the structure.BC Hydro co-owns the Sturdy Creek Dam in Queen Charlotte. It was previously used as a storage facility only, supplying water to a hospital and a diesel-powered generating station. There’s no power generating equipment at the dam.Hydro plans to remove the structure and the in-fill material with work expected to take place from mid-June through August. Following the dam’s removal, the site will be restored and a small footbridge will be constructed over Sturdy Creek near the former dam.”Following a review of Sturdy Creek Dam, BC Hydro recommended that the dam be removed because it no longer serves any purpose and has long since fallen into disuse,” said Hydro’s Dam Safety Manager, Stephen Rigbey. “Although the dam is at a low risk of failure, in the interests of ensuring both public safety and the most natural environment possible, we are decommissioning the dam and restoring the area.”BC Dam Safety Regulations provide for a consequence classification of all dams in BC. The classification (very high, high, low, or very low) identifies the potential for damage and loss in the unlikely event of a dam failure. In the case of Sturdy Creek Dam, its classification as a high-consequence dam means that if a failure were to occur, there would be significant risk to the people and environment immediately downstream.Although Sturdy Creek has low fisheries potential, bio-physical surveys of the site will be completed before removing of the dam. While none of the project activities will trigger a Federal or Provincial environmental assessment, an Environmental Management Plan is being produced to address the potential impacts that may result from the project activities and an Environmental Monitor will be on site during the removal work. Local First Nations and the Village of Queen Charlotte have been advised of the project.The Ministry of Environment indicates that the dam is owned by five parties, including BC Hydro, based on the existing water licence. With the agreement of the co-owners, BC Hydro has taken the lead in assessing the dam’s condition and determining what should be done with it.Queen Charlotte is hosting its next community dialogue session on Thursday, February 24 at 7:00 pm at the village hall and BC Hydro Engineer Dave Cattanach will be on hand to discuss the dam decommissioning project.

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