Liability insurance premiums for the City of Nanaimo will not be affected by the middle and lower Colliery dams, according to officials from both the city and the Municipal Insurance Association of B.C., the city's insurer.
The dams have been a contentious issue since last October, when council voted at an in-camera session to remove the structures, which have been cited as a public safety risk by both city and provincial officials.
The decision resulted in strong protest from park users and residents, which prompted council to shift its stance on the issue.
The city is in discussions with Snuneymuxw First Nations to reach a joint decision on how to proceed with the dams.
City staff have consistently raised liability from the dams as a major concern. The dams currently do not meet the seismic standard required by the province.
"... I have been able to determine that City of Nanaimo staff have been in contact with our staff to discuss aspects of the Colliery dam situation," said Tom Barnes, CEO and general counsel for the MIABC.
"I don't know the details of the discussions, but they are confidential between the MIABC and the City in any event.
"I can confirm, however, that the Colliery dam situation is not relevant to the cost of the City's liability insurance," he added.
However, coverage in the event that the dams fail is still is a slightly different question, according to Ian Howat, acting general manager of corporate services for the city.
"I don't think the issue is as great in the area of what our premiums would be, so much as whether we would have coverage and whether we would have adequate coverage," Howat said.
The municipality believes nothing to date has happened to date to invalidate or to partially invalidate its insurance with regard to the dams, but Howat said it impossible to say for certain.
That is because actions taken by council to address a liability impacts coverage in the event of an incident, he said.
The city is insured for up to $35 million per incident, Howat added.
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