London City Councillors still have differing opinions on what should be done with the Springbank Dam, but now that they’ve signed off on a joint environmental assessment they’ll have to wait at least two years before they make an actual decision.
City Council voted 10-4 in support of approving the One River assessment during Tuesday’s meeting. The EA links the defunct dam and the Back to the River project. Those opposed were Councillors Tanya Park, Mo Salih, Anna Hopkins and Stephen Turner.
City staff have said the assessment will cost an estimated $1.1 million, $300,000 cheaper than if two separate assessments had been carried out.
As for the timeline for completion, it’s expected to take until sometime in 2018 for the report to be ready. Given the expected completion date, the Springbank Dam will likely be a hot button issue during the next election campaign.
Many councillors were opposed to a joint EA, with some saying City Council should decide what it wants to do with the dam before ordering an assessment.
A number of community groups voiced concerns about fixing the dam, saying it would be better for the environment to let the area stay in its current state.
The main arguments for fixing the dam centre on increased opportunities for recreation and improving the aesthetic appeal of the river with a higher water level.
Springbank Dam has been inoperable since 2006 after complications arose with repairs work it was undergoing. Those issues led to a lengthy court battle which was resolved late in 2015 when the City was awarded $3.77 million.