Construction crews began structural work on the dam at McLean Mill National Historic Site the week of March 15, 2021. Work is expected to continue until the end of April. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Construction crews began structural work on the dam at McLean Mill National Historic Site the week of March 15, 2021. Work is expected to continue until the end of April. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Construction work begins on McLean Mill dam

Structural improvement project has been on the books since 2018

Construction to improve the dam at the McLean Mill log pond started on March 15.

The long-awaited work is the final part of a process that began half a dozen years ago with the realignment of Kitsuksis Creek through a portion of the mill site. The latest work is being done with onsite environmental consultants watching for potential discharge of contaminated water from the mill’s log pond into Kitsuksis Creek.

READ: City of Port Alberni takes over McLean Mill pond project

West Coast Aquatic started the original stream diversion project at the mill in late 2015, in response to a provincial dam safety report that stated concerns with the small dam at the mill. Decommissioning of the sluice gate, which dated back to the 1990s, was supposed to be the final phase of the project.

‘When we moved the stream this is work that was left outstanding,” city CAO Tim Pley said.

READ: McLean Mill historic site needs further testing

READ MORE: Future of McLean Mill in question after log pond incident

In the fall of 2018 the Alberni Valley Enhancement Society began work on removing the wooden sluice gate—which controlled release of the water from the mill’s log pond into Kitsuksis Creek across the main road cutting through the mill site. Something went wrong and the pond drained into the creek, revealing contaminants in the pond.

Bowerman Excavating Ltd. of Port Alberni is undertaking the onsite work, while Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd. are overseeing project engineering. They drew up the options in 2012 to realign the creek around the mill pond. Two organizations—D.R. Clough Consulting and TerraWest Environmental—are providing environmental expertise and oversight.

The total project budget is $319,678, which includes engineering design, supervision, environmental monitoring and contingency, said Ken Watson, major projects coordinator for the city.

Construction taking place this month includes a retrofit of the low-level pipe outlet and installation of a new outlet valve, removal of a wooden fishway and sluiceway culvert, replacement of a log bridge with a concrete bridge deck and installation of concrete sidewalls and rock buttresses.

RELATED: Stakeholders wait for dam, fish ladder fix at McLean Mill

RELATED: Alberni still no closer to fixing McLean Mill dam

RELATED: Upgrades coming to McLean Mill fishway

Construction machinery will be in operation Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the end of April.

The mill site is still open to visitors during the day, except for areas cordoned off due to construction. Check the Facebook page and website for hours when the gift shop and washrooms are open.



susie.quinn@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

McLean MillPort Alberni

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wounded Warriors runners run along Beaver Creek Road towards the Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department hall. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Port Alberni’s Wounded Warriors stage solo run

Vancouver Island-wide event was cancelled, but Maria Marciano and Dave Nesbitt ran anyway

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations celebrate legal victory in fishing dispute

Ha’oom Fisheries Society and T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries announce “major legal victory”

Winston Joseph, known as Mr. Positive Port Alberni, leads the 2019 Canada Day parade with his wife Sheila. Winston, who was integral in starting the July 1 folkfest, died April 11, 2021 at the age of 89. (PHOTO COURTESY SONJA DRINKWATER)
Community remembers Winston Joseph with Canada Day parade in April

‘Mr. Positive Port Alberni’ started Canada Day folk fest, lived a life of service and faith

Grade 5 Wood Elementary Students cycling on the powerline trail. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Wood School bicycles, equipment worth $8,000 stolen

Equipment was stored at Echo Fieldhouse in Port Alberni

Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Kobe Assam battles for the puck despite being knocked to the ice during a physical first period against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on April 7. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs pick up second shutout against Cowichan

Braden Blace earns first BCHL goal and game-winner

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Paramedic Matthew Schlatter of Victoria is living a fuller life today due to the double lung transplant he received in 2019. He encourages B.C. residents to register as an organ donor and let their families know their wishes. (Instagram/Matthew Schlatter)
B.C. man living a full, active life after double-lung transplant

Matt Schlatter encourages people to register as an organ donor to help others live

(Photo by Mojpe/Pixabay)
Canadian kids extracting record amounts from Tooth Fairy

Our neighbours in the U.S. receive slightly less from Tooth Fairy visits

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read