City hall to start on Springbank dam repairs before lawsuits make it to court
Almost seven years after it broke, steps to repair Springbank Dam are expected to begin in just a few months.
A political push is on to get repairs started now, rather than wait for a series of lawsuits to make their way to court next January.
On Wednesday night, a closed door meeting was held by the Civic Works Committee, the mayor and city staff about those lawsuits.
What transpired is confidential but the mayor says a critical first step towards repairing the dam is about to begin.
"There is some testing and investigation that needs to take place between now and several months from now," says London Mayor Matt Brown.
The mayor is not waiting for the results of a complex set of lawsuits that have already dragged on for six years.
According to court documents obtained by CTV News, the city paid $6.8 million to have the gates designed and installed.
But on June 19, 2008, as Gate #1 was being raised, a loud sound noise was heard as three bolts were broken and the gate was inoperable.
The city has filed three separate multi-million-dollar lawsuits seeking damages from the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority as well as the engineering and contracting companies.
The city is also being counter-sued.
Whether the operation, design or installation was to blame will all be settled by the courts.
None of the allegations in the statements of claim nor the statements of defence have been proven in court.
The dam plays no role in flood protection, instead it keeps water levels higher in the river during summertime, which is a crucial part of the city's new Downtown Master Plan focusing on many riverside amenities.
"For it to be that attraction, and be that experience, that higher water level really is important," says John Fleming, city planner.
Brown intends to make good on fixing the dam this term and expects a report will be in front of council soon.
"The timeline of the repairs will be much clearer once those results are available to council," he says.
A court date has been set for early January of next year and it's expected to last between 10 and 12 weeks.