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Cleveland Dam concerned Squamish Nation for years after multiple close calls

Last Updated Oct 2, 2020 at 11:11 pm PDT

Summary

Squamish First Nation says it has been concerned about outflows from the Cleveland Damn for decades

Nation spokesperson Chris Lewis says there have been multiple reports over the years of close calls

SQUAMISH (NEWS 1130) — The Squamish Nation has seen close calls involving water being released from the Cleveland Dam for decades and is demanding answers after at least five people were swept into the Capilano River on Thursday. One of them, a man, was killed, while his son is still missing

Nation spokesperson Chris Lewis says they need to know what happened so this doesn’t happen again.

“The safety as a result of the Cleveland Dam going in has been top of mind to the Squamish Nation since the dam has been built,” he says. “Throughout the decades, there are numerous stories from our nation members and our past leaders about close calls about the dam the water gets released.”

He says the close calls came with little or no warning.

RELATED: Son of man killed in Capilano River still missing

Lewis says the nation has been in contact with Metro Vancouver for years about bringing lights or a siren into the alert system when water gets released.

“And ensuring that there’s some sort of protocols in place, along with safety mechanisms to warn not just our nation’s members that are on the river, but anybody that’s on the river at the time.”

The Capilano River is a traditional fishing ground for members of the Squamish Nation, who often frequent the river this time of year to harvest the coho runs heading upstream.

Metro Vancouver says an investigation is underway and the massive release of water down the spillway was caused during maintenance.

Lewis says the Squamish Nation wants to be part of any investigation moving forward.

The Cleveland Dam opened in 1954.