Colwood asks the public to dig deep to find photos of the Lookout Lake area before the dam was built in the 1950s.
The City looks to upgrade the decades-old dam after an assessment determined it is not up to current safety standards. The dam was built in 1958 by a private forestry operation before Colwood was incorporated.
“There is limited information about its design and construction,” according to the new “Let’s Talk Colwood” website.
The City is looking for historical photos of the area prior to 1958, or images of the dam being built.
“Your artifacts may provide valuable information for the consultants working on the dam,” the City said.
According to a staff report, the Dam Safety Branch of the Ministry on 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. An engineering consultant determined the dam needs remedial measures in order to be brought up to current safety standards according to the Water Sustainability Act.
The upgrades are also necessary for the dam to be able to withstand a major earthquake.
Lookout Lake is held in place by the dam. Currently, the City performs weekly inspections of the dam and water levels to record any changes.
At the end of August, Colwood council unanimously moved to proceed with preparations of a preliminary design to upgrade the dam and keep the lake intact. The design chosen would look at a rockfill buttress on the upstream and downstream slopes of the dam, protecting it in the event of a major earthquake. It would cost the City about $1.3 million based on preliminary designs. Colwood has applied for a grant that would reduce the cost by up to $750,000.
The City of Colwood said as designs are refined, the cost estimate will become more clear as well.