In the wake of last week’s tragic events on the Capilano River, which killed two anglers, there are more questions than answers so far. The little we do know about what happened is horrific.
One moment, the banks of the river were filled with fishermen, many of whom wait all year for perfect fall conditions.
The next moment, a wall of water was released unexpectedly from the Cleveland Dam and swept downstream, raising the depth of the river and the volume of water going through it in minutes.
Those who were lucky barely managed to scramble to higher ground or make their way to a spot where they could be rescued. But two men did not make it.
The investigation into what happened at the Cleveland Dam is still in the early stages, but a few things are clear – this should not have happened and those accountable need to make sure it does not happen again.
Striking in the aftermath of this terrible event have been the stories of similar previous events on the Capilano, where disaster was narrowly averted.
It’s not the first time or the second time or the third this has happened.
In past events, a software malfunction has been fingered as the cause of the spillway gate malfunctioning.
Over 15 years ago, the Workers Compensation Board ordered the GVRD to make the dam operations safer. Meanwhile the idea of a public alarm was considered and rejected.
We question why more wasn’t learned from past events that could have prevented such a horrible loss of life.
Now that people have died, will those charged with ensuring the safety of those downstream take that work more seriously?
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