ORCA and Hatch design engineers were on hand last week to connect back with the community about the changes to the Millbrook Dam rehabilitation project scheduled to start this fall. The presentation revealed several improvements that were appreciated by residents who dropped in to see the new drawings.
One of the main changes is the reduction in the width of the new design which shows a spillway width of only 26 metres instead of the original 30 but the most striking change in the plan stems from the shift in the water flow. In the new design, the water that spills constantly will do so on the eastern side of the spillway instead of in the centre. This change will help maintain the river health because it retains the existing water movement. This discharge pattern is also better for the fish. During periods of high water, the flow will spread over the entire surface of the dam to ensure a timely discharge of the excess water. The plan will also maintain the current sounds and feeling of the existing waterfall over the dam.
Consideration has been given to the surface treatment appearances as well. The retaining walls on the eastern side of the dam will be formed from textured concrete, and the railings will be made of weathered steel. The two metre wide walkway over the dam will consist of an open grate to allow the rain and snow to fall away, but there will be a solid strip in the centre for pet comfort.
Celia Hunter, member of the Dammillpond Group has been the main voice of the community in this project, has lobbied hard to ensure that the millpond is retained instead of drained. Critical to keeping the millpond has been the issue of rebuilding the dam. Requirements are that it measures up to today’s standards and the group welcomed the support from ORCA and the federal and provincial governments for the construction of a new dam. At last week’s Open House, group members were pleased to see the reduction in the span of the weir and the visual enhancements that tie the modern structure to the historic mill. The group takes this as a win, having met their objective of keeping the pond, the mill and a dam.
The timeline for the project remains unchanged, with the project tender scheduled for this spring and an anticipated start date for construction around Thanksgiving. KG