Some questioning Springbank Dam's worth
The Thames River has flowed freely through London since the summer of 2008 when a gate on Springbank Dam broke shortly after being installed.
Now a political push is underway at city hall to repair the dam as soon as possible, but some Londoners are speaking up on social media, questioning whether the dam is necessary.
"Let everybody know the pros and cons, both sides and have the city collectively decide on whether this is a good idea," says Paul Roeding, who is opposed to the dam repairs.
But deputy mayor Paul Hubert, who backs the mayor's push for repairs, says the time for that discussion was a decade ago.
"London had this debate, and council decided that they were going to replace the Springbank Dam. That debate was back in 2005," says Hubert.
Mayor Matt Brown told CTV News Thursday that testing and investigative work on how to fix the dam will begin soon and the results will be ready for council in a matter of months.
He and Hubert aren't willing to let several multi-million dollar lawsuits stall that first step in the repair process.
"My commitment is to getting the dam fixed, operational, and back in service as quickly as possible," says Hubert.
Springbank Dam does not play a role in flood protection, that work is done by the Fanshawe Dam.
Springbank's role is to increase water levels during the summer to allow for recreation and a more traditionally pleasing appearance.
A Western University professor says the trend in recent years has been to free rivers from unnecessary man made obstructions, but slowing the water flow leads to the build up of undesirable sediments and prevents species migration.
"They change the quality of the habitat that might be there for organisms and more importantly it serves as a physical barrier for things that move up and down rivers and that's what they are is corridors," says Dr. Brian Branfireun.
But Hubert says London must balance the river's multiple roles, recreational, economic and ecological.
"Part of our Downtown Master Plan is a vibrant riverfront, and I would say right now we have more of a trickle than a river," says Hubert.
"There's plenty of opportunity for canoeing, we don't need to jeopardize the environment for recreation," says Roeding.