Brodie and Kylie Marshall of Port Coquitlam cover their ears as the whistle blows during a steam donkey demonstration at McLean Mill National Historic Site during the antique truck show over Labour Day weekend.

Alberni still no closer to fixing McLean Mill dam

More meetings on the horizon between council and Industrial Heritage Society, minus city staff.

The controversy regarding costly repairs to the dam at the McLean Mill National Heritage Site has intensified, but the city is no closer to deciding how and when the work will be done.

In an unusual move, on Monday council voted to exclude staff from an upcoming meeting with the Industrial Heritage Society (IHS) regarding the repairs.

Council also debated how to ensure the work is done safely, without cutting corners.

Council is looking at two options for the dam, which has washed out several times: to rebuild the existing dam and fish ladder for $605,000, or to construct a diversion channel around the mill pond and dam for $552,000.

City engineer Guy Cicon and an outside consultant support the second option.

IHS members have offered to assist with the work, but “will not be responsible for any disputes that arise from claims of cost cutting and cheap labour.”

The projected cost of the repairs has exceeded earlier estimates, but city staff does not want to cut corners to save money.

“This needs to be turned over to the engineering department,” city manager Ken Watson said. “It is not something council should attempt to influence the outcome of. The provincial dam inspector must be satisfied the project is safe.”

Coun. Cindy Solda echoed this concern, saying she would hate to see a tourist injured, “because we just patched it up.”

Mayor John Douglas said council is overstepping its boundaries.

“We should be allowing the professionals involved here to make the decisions,” he said. “Our role is only to decide, can we afford it?”

Council voted to have an informal meeting with IHS members to discuss the repairs. However, four of the six councillors did not want staff, including Watson and Cicon, to attend.

“I think they [IHS] would feel more comfortable if it is a more informal meeting,” explained coun. Jack McLeman.

Solda and Douglas disagreed. “This is insulting and degrading to the staff we have,” Douglas said before council voted in favour.

Just Posted

Motorhome catches fire in Port Alberni mobile home park

Space heater left inside thought to be cause of fire

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Squash Club in Port Alberni has until March 2020 to fix façade that has been under construction for years

Owner Randy Brown says ‘no problem’ to have building fixed by March deadline

Two pedestrians struck by vehicles in Port Alberni

Fire chief reminds motorists, pedestrians to be cautious

Courtenay-Alberni NDP MP Gord Johns says Scheer’s resignation not surprising

Pressure is on NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, as the lone major party leader remaining in the opposition

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

Most Read