The Springbank Dam, in many forms has dammed the Thames River from the 1870s right up until 2006. The dam had typically been closed to create a reservoir above the dam for the spring and summer months (May-November). 130 years of no problems, so what went wrong for the Springbank Dam? Here’s a timeline of what happened:
2000: Springbank Dam damaged by flood
2006: City of London approves $6.8 million to fix dam
2008: During test, dam structures break, dam is left open
2009: City launches $5 million lawsuit against dam contractors (awarded $3.77 million)
Not much has happened since the lawsuit until Mayor Matt Brown promised to fix the dam in his mayoral run. After city council voted to have an “environmental assessment” they launched the One River EA (environmental assessment) to find the absolute best option for the city of London. Ashley Rammeloo, project manager for the One River EA, hosted two events for local Londoners to come in and learn about the options, the studies being done and it gave the people a chance to share their opinions.
- Do nothing
- Let the river flow free
- Fix the dam
Londoners who attended the One River events largely sided on the dam being fixed but there were some strong voices on the environmental side, wanting the river to flow free. Jack Foote, a long-time London resident wants the dam fixed so the water levels will rise and recreational activities like kayaking and canoeing can happen again on the Thames River. Foote also pointed out the fire department can’t get their rescue boats in the water because of how low the levels are. Other residents for the dam, remembered the Thames River boat cruises as a reason to reinstate the dam.
Shiela Hunt, who wants the river to flow free brought up environmental statistics as her main argument for getting rid of the dam. “to put a dam in just so canoeists can canoe, and that they did 40 years ago is a ridiculous reason to reinstate the dam.
Although “do nothing” is an option in the assessment, Rammeloo knows that this will not be the suggested resolution they will bring to council. Rammeloo and the rest of the One River team plans to bring their environmental assessment and suggested outcome to city council in December.