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LETTER: Time to review the safety of North Spur dam

['The North Spur in the Churchill River. — Image courtesy of Google Earth']
The North Spur in the Churchill River. — Image courtesy of Google Earth

With a minority government in Newfoundland and Labrador, now is the time for the combined opposition to request an independent review of the North Spur dam safety for the following reasons:

If there is no review, and the Spur fails on filling the reservoir, Nalcor will be left with a stranded asset since repair will be difficult to impossible for geotechnical reasons.

If there is no review and the Spur remains intact on reservoir filling, there is still no assurance that the Spur will not fail during a large flood when the reservoir rises over the spillway weir. At maximum flood level of 45.1 metres, the horizontal force on the Spur will be 65 per cent larger than at full reservoir level of 39.0 metres. This leaves the residents downstream living with the concern that a failure is still possible.

If there is a review and the Spur is found to be safe, then Nalcor and downstream residents can rest assured that there will be no failure.

If there is a review and the Spur is found to be unsafe, then there will be time to devise a solution to make the Spur safe.

Hence, it is absolutely essential that there is an independent review before the reservoir is filled this fall.

Jim Gordon, Ronald Penney, Des Sullivan and David Vardy,
St. John’s


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