Don Bacon, a Tie Lake resident spreaks with RDEK’s Brian Funke about the dam plans. Alexandra Heck/The Free Press

Tie Lake dam to be replaced

80 per cent of costs to be covered with Community Works grant, rest by parcel taxes

  • Oct. 9, 2017 2:15 p.m.

Residents of Tie Lake will be paying an extra $150 each year on their tax bill to help pay for the replacement of the dam.

At a meeting on Monday night, RDEK engineering technician Kara Zandbergen assured residents that the tender for the job, which will be awarded on Friday, did in fact come in under budget.

The capital cost of replacing the dam is budgeted at $325,000, 80 per cent of which is being covered by a $262,000 Community Works grant from the RDEK.

The remainder of the costs will be recouped by a parcel tax, which will be no more than $150 per household annually.

“We wouldn’t award a the construction tender if it was over budget,” said Zandbergen.

In her presentation to residents, she outlined the project, which is set to start construction in early November and last for three weeks.

“We needed to raise and widen the crest of the dam,” said Zandbergen, explaining that according to provincial regulations, the weir of the dam must be at least four meters wide.

Due to the fact that staff are unsure what the current dam is made of, they said it would be safest to remove the entire unit and build new.

In 2012, the RDEK declared a local state of emergency due to high water levels in the lake, and in 2017, there was an incident where the levels were even higher.

“Without sandbags this year we don’t know what would have happened,” she said. “It was leaking water through.”

There will be a widened spillway, and the new bottom notch will be at the current elevation level of the lake.

“It’s not going to get 15 inches higher again ever,” said Zandbergen, noting that the dam will also be able to accommodate raising the level of the lake if that is decided in the future.

Some residents voiced their concerns about whether or not rebuilding the dam is necessary.

“The regulations for dams today, because of some failures of dams elsewhere in the province, are that you have to have one metre of what they call freeboard above the spill level,” said Don Bacon, who is an Alberta resident who has owned a property on Tie Lake for over 50 years.

“It’s not necessary from a dam perspective…in serving the purpose that the dam has had for over 100 years,” said Bacon, arguing that because of province-wide regulations to safeguard against high-profile dam disasters. He said that the majority of residents at Tie Lake are Albertans, and the taxes that he pays for his home in Calgary is less than for his property in B.C.

“Nobody likes to pay an extra $150 on their taxes,” said RDEK, Director of Electoral Area B Stan Doehle. “We have to move ahead with this project.”

Doehle and Zandbergen could not confirm the final cost of the tender, but said that the number would be made public Friday.

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