$6 million Cambridge dam project will go ahead after being delayed due to COVID-19

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Riverside Dam
From City of Cambridge

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Cambridge City Council has decided to continue work on the Century old Riverside Park Dam project – reversing a May decision to suspend work due to the financial impact of COVID-19.

Council voted to restore the dam in 2018, after the Ontario Rivers Alliance reported it is at a high risk of failure in the next two to ten years.

The estimated cost is $6 million, including $500,000 for design.

According to a staff report, The Minister of the Environment’s decision to support the preferred “Rebuild Riverside Dam” alternative in the 2018 Class EA Environmental Study Report (ESR) came with conditions that the proposed dam would be constructed in accordance with current Provincial guidelines and permitting requirements.

As a result, the design of the new dam will be required to include:

  • operating gates and valves to reduce flooding potential and help pass sediment;
  • a fish ladder or alternative fish passage method;
  • health and safety apparatus for safe access and protection of operations staff; and
  • fencing, signage and river barriers to prevent recreational use near the dam.

The estimated construction costs in the Final ESR did not include these requirements, as they were conditions that came after the completion of the Final ESR. The detailed design work completed to date has not advanced far enough to complete any design of these features or prepare updated cost estimates.

A large portion of the reconstruction costs relate to the removal and disposal of accumulated sediment. While the field work associated with the sediment survey was allowed to continue, the suspension of the detailed design did not allow for analysis of data or updating of sediment removal costs.

Resumption of the detailed design will allow for the cost estimates to be revised and updated to accurately reflect these items, Sarah Austin, acting city engineer concluded.

The project is expected to take two years to complete.

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