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PHOTOS: Dam upgrade on popular Campbell River lake won’t affect recreation

Ladore Spillway Seismic Upgrade Project will not change water levels on McIvor Lake reservoir

The shores of McIvor Lake were calm and quiet on on a sunny afternoon the Thursday before Victoria Day weekend.

For many weekends to come , those very shores will be brimming with people wanting to take in all the lake has to offer.

BC Hydro’s Stephen Watson wants to ensure those who recreate on the marvelous body of water that the future construction project on Ladore Dam, aimed at making it more seismically secure, will not affect anybody’s ability to swim, paddle, fish, or water-ski nearby.

“I met with McIvor Lake residents in 2020, and I’m meeting with them again in June,” he explained.

“Just to go over operations and this facility.”

Watson joked that in the absence of information, people can suggest what will happen, and rumours can start.

“So there’s no reservoir level draw down for this project,” he said.

Even construction deliveries to the site will be arranged before 10 a.m. in order to keep local traffic uncluttered, Watson pointed out.

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All three dams on the Campbell River system will be undergoing major work so they can stand the best chance at continuing to function in the event of a major earthquake.

Strathcona Dam and John Hart Dam are more well known, but Ladore is just as important to the system.

“All three facilities must not just withstand an earthquake, but they need to safely pass water downstream after a major earthquake,” Watson said.

“For the Strathcona project, part of it is to enable BC Hydro to lower the reservoir post-earthquake , and so pretty significant controlled flows will be used to ease pressure on the dam, but this system here (Ladore Dam) needs to continue to operate to pass water below Ladore and then past John Hart.

“All three facilities need to run in tandem, so this is a key project for us.”

The dam’s three spillway gates will be replaced one at a time over the course of three years, with the accompanying hoists being replaced as well.

The concrete dam is currently sitting on bedrock, and more anchoring with steel rods will take place.

New equipment will also be installed to meet current reliability standards too.

Preliminary design on the project is wrapping up, at which point a BC Utilities Commission regulatory review will take place. Watson expects that to begin at the end of summer, and run into 2023, at which point procurement should begin.

If all goes well, crews will start mobilizing on-site in 2024.

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