Dam project needs new assessment

By Jeff Labine|
Published: June 8, 2016

Repairs to Boulevard Lake’s dam don’t appear to be happening this year.

The roughly $5.3 million two-year project, which was originally set to begin in 2015, has been on hold since the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change told the City of Thunder Bay that they need to complete a new environment assessment, which would allow stakeholders to voice concerns.

A year later, the city announced on Monday that they have started a municipal class environmental assessment. Project manager Mike Vogrig explained that there are a different number of environmental assessments and the city ran through the process they thought was appropriate for the Boulevard dam project. He said when they submitted their assessment to the ministry, they found there was some information missing.

This essentially meant the city had to start over.

Vogrig said the ministry request the city conduct a number of additional studies to help fill in the gaps as well as more consultations with the public.

He said 2017 is the earliest they could start construction.

“We’re on the first public consultation session — one of two — we will have the other one scheduled sometime in September or October,” he said.

“Also ongoing, we have a bunch of studies at the request of the MOE. Those are kind of ongoing as it stands and those have to go through the various seasons of the year so the biologists can get the information they need. So we’re expecting we have probably about a year before we complete the EA and get into a notice of completion stage again.”

Current River Coun. Andrew Foulds, whose ward contains Boulevard Lake, said he was frustrated that the project had been delayed but was pleased events like the Police Fire Can-Am games will still be able to take place.

“Clearly there are issues with the Boulevard Lake dam and we have to deal with those issues,” he said.

“Regardless, I think it is important that we focus in on how we are going to do this properly and making sure that what happens to that dam, what happens to the facility, really balances the interests of a lot of different stakeholders and a lot of different aspects of the area.”

Foulds, who will be attending the first public meeting on the project on June 14 at the Current River Recreation Centre, urged residents to attend that meeting to have their voices heard.

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