When: October 14th (Saturday), 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Where: Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse
Costs: Free. Transportation will be provided. The group will leave UBC at 9 a.m..
RSVP: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm attendance
Event Coordinator: Janice Lau
On October 14, 2017, a group of 16 students took a tour of the Ruskin Dam and powerhouse upgrade Project. On site, the tour was given by three hosts, including one from each of BC Hydro, Flatiron, and Dragados, which gave great perspective of the different aspects of the project. The purpose of the $700 million upgrade is to increase the safety of the dam, particularly in terms of seismic performance, ensure better flow, and enhance water spill prevention. The Ruskin Dam is a major piece of infrastructure in Vancouver, providing the city with power for over 80 years.
Our students were fitted with high-vis fire resistant overalls, essential safety gear for entering the powerhouse. The engineers explained the challenges they have encountered throughout the project resulting in unexpected contractual problems and delays. For instance, at least one section of the spillway must be functioning at all times and this meant that works done on the spillway must be carefully planned and specific methodologies to be used to ensure worker safety. Another surprise the project encountered was discovering a rail track used to transport materials when the dam was first built embedded in the side slope of the dam. This led to further delays and addition work to remove this rail.
Overall, this was an eye opening tour to see one of Vancouver’s major infrastructure projects, especially the magnitude of water spilling out of the dam and the proximity of the construction to the operating dam sections.