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.

Project Update

  • 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.

What’s New

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
  • Engagement

    Public Engagement

    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.

Emergency Alert:

  • 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.

Stay Connected

Sign up to be notified of public engagement opportunities and SMS notifications for our public warning system.


Sign up

Upcoming Test Dates

12:00 pm, March 16, 2023

12:00 pm, April 20, 2023

12:00 pm, May 18, 2023

12:00 pm, June 15, 2023

12:00 pm, July 20, 2023

12:00 pm, August 17, 2023

12:00 pm, September 21, 2023

12:00 pm, October 19, 2023

12:00 pm, November 16, 2023

12:00 pm, December 21, 2023




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May – July 2021False2May – July 2021<div class="ExternalClass17CF718F7BDE47D6AD158F274FAE658F">Phase 1 engagement<br></div>
Fall 2023 – Early 2024False6Fall 2023 – Early 2024<div class="ExternalClass7B4BC854EC4F4C96A6C6FF3F63699192">Long term safety enhancements installation<br></div>
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Summer 2022 – Summer 2023True9Summer 2022 – Summer 2023<div class="ExternalClass8B574C6DEAC14F9AB7369911281F05B6">River user and public onsite surveying<br></div>
Fall 2022False10Fall 2022<div class="ExternalClassA56E367FA7B8462684D5A8D278989F37">Emergency Mass Communication Notification System Upgrade Project </div>
Spring 2023False4Spring 2023<div class="ExternalClassF2B864F149704B0B91014F97B17E11E9">Dam Safety Educational Program<br></div>
Spring 2023False5Spring 2023<div class="ExternalClass51C4EE426D384061B9098F3ABB84DBEE">Phase 2 engagement on the long term safety enhancements<br></div>
2023False122023<div class="ExternalClass3F372A3A7B6641008E71A3987B6255A6">Long term safety enhancements final design<br></div>

Contact Us

A community liaison has been appointed to this project and will be available to provide updates and respond to questions or concerns as they arise.​

Monday to Friday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Phone: 604-432-6200
Email: Information Centre

After-Hours Emergencies:
Phone: 604-451-6610

Cleveland Dam Updates

Read statements and updates related to the Cleveland Dam event and the Cleveland Dam Safety Enhancements Program.