Friday, 06 April 2018 05:25

Planning continues for repair work on historic C.P.R. Dam

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The historic C.P.R. Dam in Riverside Park is a municipal heritage site and an important part of Swift Current's history. The historic C.P.R. Dam in Riverside Park is a municipal heritage site and an important part of Swift Current's history.

Some careful planning is taking place to come up with a design solution for the repair work on one of the oldest permanent structures in Swift Current.


The C.P.R. Dam, which is located at Riverside Park, is a municipal heritage property.
It was originally built in 1888 to provide a steady supply of water to steam locomotives on Canadian Pacific Railway's main line.
Mitch Minken, the City of Swift Current's general manager of infrastructure and operations, said the need for a more detailed design became clear after previous repair work was not effective.
“We attempted to do some repair work a couple of years back and the structure underneath is so rotten that we only tried to attach the boards back to it and they just didn’t stay,” he explained.
“So right now we’re just in the process of doing the proper engineering design to replace a whole bunch of those timbers underneath so we’ve got something solid to attach the boards to.”
The City asked timber experts to evaluate the structure to ensure that the engineering design will be effective.
“Last fall they removed some boards and got in underneath there and they took a good look at what needs to be replaced in that structure and they’re just doing the final design for us as to what we need to do to do the proper repair there,” he said.
“It's going to be a little bit more money than we expected in the first place, because it’s a little bit more major repair. So then we got to figure out how that works into the budget for getting that repair work done.”
The 139-metre long dam was originally built from earth, stone and plank, but it has later been rebuilt. Minken estimates the old timbers underneath the wood plank spillway dates from the 1920's.
“We have a drawing that looks like that stuff was placed there in 1926 or somewhere around there,” he said. “So they’ve done pretty good.”
The structure includes some power pole sized wooden piles and the intention is to also evaluate their condition.
“There’s some driven piles that these cross beams are attached to and then the spillway boards are just attached to them,” he said. “We’re assessing what shape those piles are in to see if we can even attach the crossbeams to it. So some crossbeams definitely need to be replaced and some of these piles may need to be remediated as well and fixed up.”
The C.P.R. Dam is an important part of Swift Current's history. In addition to its original use as a reservoir for the railway operations, the dam has been a popular recreation site for local residents and today it is a familiar sight for people who visit Riverside Park or walk along the Chinook Parkway.

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Matthew Liebenberg

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