Cleveland Dam Updates

On Thursday, October 1, the spillway gate at the Cleveland Dam released a large volume of water into the Capilano River while it was undergoing maintenance.

Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to those affected by this event and for the loss of life.

We recognize the impact that this has had on everyone involved. We have commenced an urgent and comprehensive review that will look at everything from programming, operations, and internal protocols. We are one hundred per cent committed to determining the cause, making improvements, and taking all necessary action to ensure this never happens again.

We will provide updates as the review and information unfolds.

 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - Cleveland Dam and Capilano River Interim Public-Facing Alarm System Testing Begins

Metro Vancouver will begin testing new interim public-facing alarms at four sites at the Cleveland Dam and along the Capilano River starting May 27.

Work will take place on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., over a two-week period. Alarm testing will not occur on weekends. During testing, the audible and visual alarms will be activated for a minimum of 90 seconds and a maximum of seven minutes per test.

Crews will begin the series of tests at the Cleveland Dam Screen House site and move downstream. Testing will take place for up to two days each at the Cleveland Dam Screen House, the Capilano Hatchery, near the Trans-Canada Highway bridge crossing the river, and near the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant.

A special weather statement was issued by Environment Canada on May 26. Heavy rainfall over the next few days is also expected to naturally increase river levels. Testing will continue even during the heavy rainfall.

The first phase of the Cleveland Dam Safety Enhancements Program includes a period of public engagement which is open until July 30. Notifications about the testing will also be issued by SMS text message or email. To sign up to receive notifications about alarm system testing or use, please subscribe online.



Friday, April 16, 2021 – Metro Vancouver launches opt-in SMS text messaging warning system as part of a suite of Cleveland Dam Safety Enhancements 

As part of our commitment to make improvements to our system, Metro Vancouver is enhancing our public-facing warning systems in two phases. 

In the first phase, we will install an interim public warning system that includes a series of audible and visible alarms at six locations along the Capilano River and additional public warning signs. We will also launch an opt-in SMS text messaging system for use when the public warning system is being tested and in the event of a significant dam-related emergency. 

In the second phase, we will incorporate what we learn through our upcoming public engagement process with the expertise of third-party engineer consulting firms, to inform additional long-term public warning system enhancements. 

Construction of the interim public-facing alarms and sirens will begin late April and is expected to take approximately one month. Once complete, the system will be tested and commissioned over a period of approximately two weeks (dates to be confirmed in the coming weeks). For more information about the new system and how to subscribe for SMS text messages, please visit the project page

The first of two public engagement periods will begin on May 13, 2021 with the purpose of seeking feedback on the interim enhanced public warning system and input on additional long-term enhancements. 

Feedback gathered through the public engagement process will be considered along with the expertise of third-party engineer consulting firms who we have brought on board to help us design the long-term public warning system.
 

Anyone interested in receiving Cleveland Dam project updates, including notice when public engagement begins, is encouraged to sign up to our email list.



Thursday, February 25, 2021 – Upcoming Activity at the Cleveland Dam and along the Capilano River

Since the Cleveland Dam event of October last year, it has been Metro Vancouver’s priority to fully understand and respond to the circumstances around this tragic event and ensure it never happens again.

In the coming weeks people enjoying Capilano River Regional Park will begin to notice various work taking place related to regular maintenance of the dam and reservoir, preparatory actions in advance of returning the spillway gate to service to collect water for the summer, and added safety enhancements along the Capilano River.

The public can continue to enjoy trails in Capilano River Regional Park during these activities, and crews will make every effort to minimize noise and potential delays from construction vehicle access.

Upcoming maintenance

  • Performing testing and inspections on the spillway gate. During testing, the spillway gate will be raised and lowered over a period of a few hours. During the testing and inspection, crews will be on site. For public and crew safety, the lake level will be kept below the spillway gate so no water is released over the gate during these activities.
  • Maintenance on the west side of the dam as part of our regular asset management planning. This work will begin in late February and take approximately four months to complete. Park users will see a crane on site and a construction staging area.
  • Routine maintenance checks on the log booms located north of the dam bridge on Capilano Reservoir. This is in preparation to replace the anchors on the log booms. There will be small boats on the reservoir during this time.

Public warning systems and upcoming public engagement

We are working to install an interim set of public facing alarms this spring and later this spring we will begin a two-phase engagement program to help inform the long-term solution for the enhanced public warning system.

Feedback gathered through the public engagement process will be combined with the expertise of third-party engineer consulting firms who we have brought on board to help us design the public warning system.

In the coming months, we will be reaching out to groups who we know to be active along the river. If you are from a group that regularly uses the river and would like to share your feedback as part of our engagement process, please reach out to our team to be added to our contact list.

Anyone interested in receiving Cleveland Dam project updates, including notice when public engagement begins, is encouraged to sign up to our email list.



Friday, October 30, 2020 – Cleveland Dam Event Update

On October 8, 2020, Metro Vancouver reported that the tragic event at the Cleveland Dam during drum gate maintenance work on October 1 was due to human error.

Today, Metro Vancouver further reports that three employees have been dismissed from employment with Metro Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver continues to cooperate fully with external agencies in their investigations, and will not be providing further comment at this time.



Friday, October 9, 2020 - Cleveland Dam Operational Update In Anticipation of Heavy Rainfall

 Cleveland Dam Operational Update In Anticipation of Heavy Rainfall



Thursday, October 8, 2020 - Preliminary Review Findings Of Cleveland Dam Event

 Metro Vancouver Releases Preliminary Review Findings of Cleveland Dam Event of October 1, 2020



Monday, October 5, 2020 - Statement from Jerry Dobrovolny, Commissioner, Metro Vancouver

We continued to work through the weekend on an urgent and comprehensive review that has been looking at everything from programming and operations to internal protocols. We activated our Emergency Operations Centre to enhance the efficiency with which we can get answers on what happened and we are working collaboratively with other agencies such as the RCMP and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on their investigations.

The review is still underway, and there are some questions for which we are still confirming answers, however, we are confident at this point that the event did not involve terrorism, sabotage, or malicious intent. We are committed to providing updates as information becomes available.

In addition to supporting emergency responders, our first priority was to secure the dam and ensure that it was safe. The structural integrity of the dam remains intact, and there is no safety concern regarding the dam. One of the first steps we took was to lock out the spillway gate to prevent any further release over the spillway and give us a stable environment in which to conduct the review.

A key function of the dam is to ensure that both the lake levels and river levels remain safe. Because we are now into autumn and expecting heavy rainfall this weekend, we have been assessing the appropriate release of water, and beginning this evening we will be lowering the level of the lake below the elevation of the spillway gate so that the gate can be lowered and taken out of service by the end of the weekend. We are adding additional staff to monitor our operational practice during this activity. Once the spillway gate is fully open, we expect it will remain so through the winter.

Residents will continue to see fluctuations in the river throughout the fall and winter, both from natural weather patterns and from updated operational requirements for the dam.

We have heard very clearly from the public an interest in understanding the nature of alarm systems on dams. The two dams that we operate, Seymour Falls Dam and Cleveland Dam, do not have external, public-facing alarm systems. As part of our review and assessment, we are exploring options to improve our system, including the possible addition of alarm systems.

The first priority of the emergency response was to respond to people impacted by the surge of water. Following that, we conducted an environmental survey to identify possible impacts to fish. As part of this, our fisheries consultant surveyed sensitive stranding sites along the Capilano River and found no stranded or isolated fish or notable concerns. This information has been provided to the Province.

Naturally, the thing we are first and foremost concerned with is the impact of this event on human life and the fear and anxiety this has caused those who regularly use the park. The recommendations that result from our review will have this at the front of mind, as we want to be able to ensure that we have taken every available step so that this does not happen again.



Friday, October 2, 2020 - Statement from Jerry Dobrovolny, Commissioner, Metro Vancouver

On Thursday, October 1, the spillway gate at the Cleveland Dam released a large volume of water into the Capilano River while it was undergoing maintenance.

Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences go out to those affected by this event and for the loss of life.

We recognize the impact that this has had on everyone involved. We have commenced an urgent and comprehensive review that will look at everything from programming, operations, and internal protocols. We are one hundred per cent committed to determining the cause, making improvements, and taking all necessary action to ensure this never happens again.

The structural integrity of the dam remains intact, and there is no safety concern regarding the dam. We have physically locked the gate of the dam to control the water level to expedite the review, have activated the Emergency Operations Centre and continue to support the RCMP and other agencies in their investigation work.

We will provide updates as the review and information unfolds.



Friday, October 2, 2020 - Media Briefing on Cleveland Dam Event




Cleveland Dam Safety Enhancements Program


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