Ruskin Dam info session next week

If approved, project would start in 2012

B.C. Hydro will meet with the public Monday night to discuss its proposed $800-million restoration of the aging Ruskin Dam, and  potential impacts to the environment and to the communities of Ruskin and Silverdale the six-year construction project may pose.

Jane Newlands, B.C. Hydro’s community relations manager for the project, said she hopes to answer any questions the public might have about the project.

It is currently under review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is expected to make its ruling by the end of the year.

Should the project be approved, Newlands said construction would likely begin in early 2012 and continue until 2018.

Traffic in the area will be affected as Hayward Street, which runs over top of the dam, will be closed for the duration of the project.

Wilson Street will also be reduced to single-lane alternating traffic.

There will also be a number disruptions to the recreational area south of the dam.

The Ruskin Recreation Site south of the dam will be closed during construction, as will the parking lot off Wilson Street.

No swimming or boating will be permitted on Hayward Lake during the summer months of 2012 and 2013 due to a scheduled drop in the water level to allow for construction.

Portions of the Reservoir Trail will also be closed.

Work on the dam will take place in four stages. The first stage will see the western bank of the dam reinforced and fitted with a waterproof membrane. The second stage will see the dam’s spillway gates replaced and the one-way road that runs over top of the dam widen to accommodate two vehicle lanes and a pedestrian lane.

The third stage of the project will focus on the powerhouse, which undergo seismic upgrades and a full restoration, and will have its three generators replaced.

The fourth and final stage will see the electrical substation currently located on the roof of the powerhouse relocated to an area near the eastern bank of the dam.