The future of a popular recreation spot in Port Moody, B.C., is in question amid revelations that an aging dam at Sasamat Lake will need to be either decommissioned and removed or replaced.
The dam in question is owned by Imperial Oil, and has been a part of the lake in some version for about a century.
The company is now in the early stages of studying what to do with the dam, which showed signs of seepage during an inspection in 2019. If it were to be removed, water levels in the lake could drop by as much as two metres.
“It’s almost devastating. We come here every day to do a cardio workout,” park user Susan de Jong told Global News.
“This lake is filled with fish, there’s also things that feed on the fish, there’s bears in the area, coyotes, huge amount of birds.”
Global News has requested comment from Imperial Oil.
Seasonal pay parking coming to two Metro Vancouver parks
At a Port Moody council meeting last week, the company talked about the condition of the dam and said it was listening to feedback.
“We really don’t have a need for the dam anymore,” Imperial Oil project manager Ali Tejpar said. “We are trying to understand from stakeholders and First Nations groups where their concerns are.”
The lake is within Belcarra Regional Park, and is operated by the Metro Vancouver Regional District.
Metro Vancouver director of regional parks Mike Redpath said the district has been clear with Imperial about its concerns and was exploring “all different options.”
“We would like to see the water levels remain in place, to ensure the habitat is protected, and also to maintain the current visitor experience, which is very popular,” he said.
“We don’t expect any changes to happen to the park without more dialogue, particularly dialogue between the regional district and Imperial Oil. At this point, their feasibility study and their investigations are Imperial Oil’s investigations.”
Maintaining the existing dam, rather than removing or replacing it is the district’s preferred outcome, Redpath said.
Planning for the future of the dam remains early in the investigative stage, and the cost of maintaining or replacing it remains unknown.
That’s good news for park users like de Jong, who said whatever happens the community needs to be consulted.
“I would hope the public would have a say in whatever decision they decide to make,” she said.
© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.