On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the spillway gate at the Cleveland Dam released a large volume of water into the Capilano River while it was undergoing maintenance. We recognize the impact that this has had on everyone involved and are committed to ensuring this never happens again. As part of our commitment to make improvements to our system we are conducting a comprehensive review of the Cleveland Dam and implementing a number of new safety enhancements.
Planned Maintenance: January - April 2023 - posted on January 25, 2023
Metro Vancouver is installing structural upgrades to the valves at the lower outlet to help ensure long term durability. This planned maintenance is taking place starting in January 2023 thru April 2023.
We have installed an interim public warning system that includes audible and visible alarms and additional public warning signs. We are now undertaking work to develop both a public education program and the long-term enhancements along the river.
Throughout summer 2022 – summer 2023 you can expect to see:
- Engineering teams completing on-site studies and hydraulic modeling of the Capilano River
- Updated project information signs and website content
- A third-party engineer consulting firm conducting onsite surveys to determine patterns of the public and river users along the Capilano River to inform the long-term public safety enhancements
- The purpose of the survey is to collect a statistically valid sample to determine:
- Who the River Users are? Collect demographic data
- Where the River Users are?
Use maps to identify where people live, work, and recreation in the vicinity of the Capilano River
- When the River users are in the River?
Identify users during different time of day, time of week, varying throughout the seasons
- What are the River Users doing?
Identify activities that River Users are performing
- Opportunities to sign up for the Alertable app, a mass notification public alerting system that provides timely distribution of critical information during emergency events (fall 2022)
- A new Dam Safety Educational Program is currently in development for implementation in spring 2023
Location: Capilano River Regional Park
Interim Public Warning System Alarm Locations Map
In fall 2021, we conducted a study of Capilano River users to support research on river use patterns for long-term public safety enhancements. In April 2022, we installed an additional public-facing alarm at the base of Taylor Way Bridge. This alarm is interconnected with the other six alarms and part of our regular monthly alarm testing schedule.
What to expect during alarm system testing
To ensure the alarms function properly, the system requires testing. During testing you’ll hear verbal confirmation, followed by the alarm sounding for up to two minutes. The verbal instructions will be:
“This is a TEST. This is a TEST of the Cleveland Dam emergency warning system. This is ONLY a TEST. To respond to an actual emergency, you should evacuate the Capilano River and Canyon immediately. This is ONLY a TEST. NO ACTION is required.”
What to expect from the alarms
The first phase of public engagement took place between May and July 2021. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the engagement was held online. Activities during this phase included 30 stakeholder meeting, 5,358 views of our engagement video, 195 responses to our online and hard copy survey and additional feedback received through email, phone and text.
Phase 1 supporting materials:
Learn more about our commitment to public engagement and our guiding principles here.
First Nations Engagement
Metro Vancouver has been engaging with First Nations about the safety enhancements program and emergency response planning since October 2020.
What We Heard
Feedback gathered through the public engagement process will be combined with the expertise of third-party engineer consulting firms working to help us design the long-term public warning system.
Public Safety Information Signs
- Suggestions to install more public safety signs along the river, between Capilano River Fish Hatchery and the south access to Pipeline Trail
- Comments on the benefits of adding signs that communicate serious risk or loss of life in designated areas along the river
- Concerns and comments on what to do or where to go in the event of emergency scenario
Public Alarm System
- Suggestions to add more public-facing sirens and strobe lights along the Capilano River
- Support for the content and messaging used during alarm testing scenarios
- Suggestions to consider adding verbal instructions with the alarms to alert people of what to do during an emergency scenario
SMS Texting System
- Interest in expanding the SMS system to include notice of river level changes
- Suggestions to consider updating the SMS notification system from opt-in subscription to automatic push of public safety alerts
Ongoing Communication and Education
- Support to continue promoting program updates and engagement opportunities through signs located in Capilano River Regional Park and through social media
Park and River User Experience
- Almost all engagement participants visit the Capilano River or Cleveland Dam at least once per year
- Activities most frequently enjoyed by engagement participants who visit Capilano River Regional Park and the Capilano River include hiking, running or walking
Cleveland Dam SMS Notification System Sign Up
The SMS text message notification system is part of a suite of tools to support public communication about the Cleveland Dam enhanced public warning system. SMS notifications will help subscribers know if the lights and sirens indicate an alarm testing situation or an actual dam-related emergency.
To sign up to receive SMS text message or email notifications about audible and visible alarm system testing or use, please read the following information and complete the online form.
Messages contain information to confirm why the audible and visible alarm system has been activated.
This system will be used to send messages related to the following two situations:
System Alarm Testing Alert:
- In the event of a system alarm test, sirens and lights will activate, followed by a verbal warning indicating a test is underway.
- Individuals who subscribe to the Cleveland Dam SMS Notification System will receive a message indicating that a test is underway and no action is required.
- In the event of an emergency alert, sirens and lights will activate.
- Individuals who subscribe to the Cleveland Dam SMS Notification System will receive an emergency alert message indicating that anyone in the area or downstream of the Cleveland Dam should evacuate the river area immediately. An alert will also be sent when the event has ended.
To subscribe, please read and acknowledge the disclaimer:
The river and shoreline present inherent dangers, hazards and risks to those who enter, including but not limited to changes in water levels, risk of hypothermia, unexpected surges and waves, fast flowing water, rocks, branches and the risk of personal injury, death or loss of property.
PERSONS USING OR ENTERING THE CAPILANO RIVER(S) AND SHORELINE AT ANY TIME DO SO AT THEIR OWN RISK.
Text JOIN to 604-757-0900 to complete your subscription. Messaging and data rates may apply.