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One River Stage 1 Environmental Assessment Report Released

The results of a comprehensive review of the options for Springbank Dam were released today in a report prepared by CH2M, consultant for the One River Environmental Assessment (EA). The report identified the preferred option is allow for a free-flowing river by decommissioning the Springbank Dam.

As part of the One River EA, three options for Springbank Dam were considered:

Option 1: Do Nothing –  the dam will be kept in its current condition

Option 2: Free-Flowing River – the dam will be decommissioned so it will not provide a water retention function

Option 3: Reinstate the Dam – the dam will be repaired or reconstructed

Following comprehensive review of each option, the evaluation identified Option 2, Free-Flowing River, as the preferred option. Option 2 ranked highest overall and provided the most benefits and best met the objective of the One River EA Problem/Opportunity Statement.

Consultation with the public, stakeholders, and Indigenous, First Nations, and Métis communities was a key component in gathering feedback on the option for Springbank Dam. Public consultation took place between July and December 2017. Two Public Information Centres were held in October 2017. Of those that completed the survey, 70% of respondents supported an unobstructed river (Option 1 and Option 2) with 24% of respondents in support of reinstating the dam (Option 3). The remaining 6% were in favour of a combination of options or did not provide a response.

The project team heard from many stakeholders and members of the public that it was important to have sufficient lead time to review the consultant’s report prior to a final public participation meeting on the Springbank Dam. The Stage 1 EA report will be presented for public comment at a Public Participation Meeting at Civic Works Committee on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, where committee will consider a recommendation to decommission the Springbank Dam.

Subject to council approval of this report, the One River EA project will move ahead as three separate initiatives. The “Forks of the Thames” initiative will consider the council endorsed “Ribbon of the Thames” design submission selected as part of the Back to the River international design competition. The “River Enhancements” initiative will consider river enhancement and improvements, building on public comments suggested during the first stage of the One River EA. This initiative will consider projects such as canoe and kayak launch locations, improvements to existing public amenity/look-out spaces, environmental stewardship projects, and erosion improvements. The final initiative the “Springbank Dam Decommissioning” will consider the most environmentally appropriate way to decommission the Springbank Dam.

Report documents, appendices, and FAQs are available at