Minutes of our Meeting with the Public Curator of Quebec concerning the Tee Lake Dam

 

Date :             September 24, 2002

Time :              1 :00 to 3 :00 PM

Location :         Kipawa Town Hall


Attending : One or more representative from the following organisations ( see appendix 1 for a complete list of participants  )

 

Public Curator of Quebec

Centre d’Expertise Hydrique du Québec[1] CEHQ 

Ministry of Transport

Hydro-Québec

Tembec

Municipality of Témiscaming

Municipality of Tee Lake-Kipawa

Regional municipality of  Témiscamingue

Association of Residents and Cottage Owners of  Tee Lake, du Moulin Lake and Coal Pit Bay

Commonwealth Plywood

Lake Temiscamingue School Board


 

Mayor Marie Lefebvre of the municipality of Kipawa opened the meeting and turned the floor over  to Roch Lemay,  director of the Public Curator of Quebec.

 

M. Lemay explained that as a result of  a new law approved in April 2002, concerning the safety of dams, the Quebec government has completed an inventory of all dams in the province of Quebec and identified  about 123  whose owners has disappeared usually because the company no longer exists.  To ensure the safety of the public, these dams were put into the hands of the Public Curator so that he would administer them temporarily before disposing of them. Among these dams are the Tee Lake and Beauchêne Lake dam.

 

M. Alain Nadeau, an engineer from the CEHQ briefly recapped the history of the Tee lake dam, reminding us that it was first built in 1880. He summarised the work done on the dam this past August:

 

a)      The dam was inspected in June 2002

b)      It was noted that many aspects of the dam did not meet government standards. In particular:

                                                               i.      The crest of the  dam, must not be less than 1.0 metre above the safety check flood level. This was not the case for the Tee lake dam before they removed a stop log in August.

                                                             ii.      The overflow capacity is insufficient;

                                                            iii.      The dam was not properly maintained ( there were many trees and branches preventing normal draining of the water ) ;

                                                           iv.      Water was leaking under the left wing ( East side ) of the dam.

 

c)      Work done in August will temporarily stabilize the dam but the work is not considered complete. The dam will be monitored on a monthly basis.

d)      The bridge sitting on the dam was declared in good condition but not the underlying bridge support ( the dam )

 

M. Lemay  informed us that pursuant to the report from the CEHQ engineers, as the interim owner of the dam, he had to take some measures to stabilize the dam and looking forward had to apply the regulations as stipulated in the Quebec Dam Safety Act .  He has three choices:

 

a)      Remove the dam before it causes flood damage

b)      Repair the dam

c)      Rebuild the dam and sell it

 

As it is not the mandate of the public curator to operate dams in the long term, this meeting was the first step of a process whereby he will gather all interested parties to plan the future of the dam. There will be costs and a working committee formed of all interested parties will assess these.  Eventually, a formula will be worked out to determine how these costs are to be split.

 

If no interested parties are found, the dam will be removed in a safe and environmentally responsible way. The Tee Lake dam has been classified as an « A » dam – one which is holds back a large quantity of water and poses a threat to a community downstream. Dams classified as “A” in the Dam Safety Act must be resolved by 2006.

 

M. Luc Blanchet, president of the committee, asked that the water level be restored to it’s pre August 2002 level before the winter as the water supply of many residents was being threatened by the low lake water level. The water pipe of many year round residents is now exposed to freezing as  the result of the low water level. He corrected Guy Luc Jacques from the Curator who thought only one resident was drawing his utility water from the lake – there are actually 37 .  M Philippe Barrette , mayor of Temiscaming strongly endorsed  Luc’s request

 

The curator was somewhat concerned that raising the water  level would not provide the one meter gap required between t he crest of the dam and the normal lake water level.  We noted that the water level of Tee Lake has does not fluctuate more than 4 inches as the flow of it’s only major source of water ( lake Kipawa ) is regulated . In our opinion, the risk of a spring thaw overflow is minimal

 

The public curator requested two weeks to analyse the situation and proposed to meet again around October 14 2002.  

 

During the meeting a number of related subjects were discussed :

 

Beauchêne Lake dam

 

This dam does not meet the requirements of the Dam Safety Act.  Negotiations are under way to have it rebuilt and to have an interested party take over. No agreement has been reached to date

 

The bridge on the dam

 

The bridge is not a public road, It is considered an abandoned good that any interested party can use as long as they maintain it in good order.

 

List of possible solutions : ( these and others will be further explored by the working committee)

 

a)      Fix the dam by boxing in the existing caisson – not a viable solution – imposes too severe a restriction on the gap in which the water flows

b)      Fix the dam by pouring cement in the caisson – possible but not likely the caissons are too old. Normal life span of wood is 40 years.

c)      Blow up the mountain to the south of Kipawa rd, straighten out the road – remove the sharp and dangerous corner, place the rocks in front of the existing dam. Possible but a stop log device and an overflow still required

 

Hydro Québec

 

Michel Desfosses of  Hydro Québec declared that Hydro Quebec does not have any interest in  this dam.

 

Bombardier dam ( Brompton  Lake, Eastern Townships)

 

This dam was one of  750 dams owned by the CEHQ. It was built in the 1850 and was in such bad shape that it had to be rebuilt or removed. Three local municipalities agreed to take ownership of the dam. Work is to begin this fall. A 775,000 loan interest free was made to the municipalities. The lake has 600 residents or cottage owners.

 

It was noted that the Tee Lake and et Beauchêne Lake dams are the fist ones being disposed of by the Curator in the province of Québec.

 

Working Committee

 

            Considering that some parties are interested in maintaining the water level and that a solution is required for the dam, a working committee headed by the MRC of Témiscamingue will be created. The first meeting will be held in October 2002.

 

All organisations, companies, persons who have an interest in maintaining the lake water lever will be invited to participate.

 


Appendix 1

 

The following attended the meeting with the Public Curator of Quebec concerning the Tee Lake dam this past September 24, 2002 at t he Tee lake-Kipawa town hall.

 

Name

 

Title

Organisation

Roch Lemay

Director

Public Curator of  Québec

Guy Luc Jacques

Assistant director

Public Curator of  Québec

Jean-Marie Boucher

 

Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec ( CEHQ )

Alain Nadeau, ing

 

Centre d’expertise hydrique du Québec ( CEHQ )

Robin Roy

 

Ministry of transport

Michel Desfosses

 

Hydro Québec

Marie Lefebvre

Mayor of  Kipawa

Municipality of Kipawa

Philippe Barrette

Mayor of  Témiscaming and  Prefect of the regional municipality of Témiscamingue

Town of  Témiscaming 

Regional Municipality of  Témiscamingue

Pierre Gingras

Manager

Town of Témiscaming

Sylvie Bourque

Town clerk

Town of Témiscaming

Denis Clermont

Manager

Regional Municipality of  Témiscamingue

Francis Dessureault

VP et Mill Manager

( Tembec,  Témiscaming )

Tembec

Alain Labarre

Forestry Engineer

Commonwealth Plywood

Pierre Viens

 

 

Denis Loiselle

Transportation manager

Lake Témiscamingue School Board

Luc Blanchet

President

Residents and Cottage Owners Association

Jacques Rochon

Vice president

Residents and Cottage Owners Association

Pauline Lécuyer

Treasurer

Residents and Cottage Owners Association

Serge Larochelle

Administrator

Residents and Cottage Owners Association

Yves Beauregard

Administrator

Residents and Cottage Owners Association

Marc Bellehumeur

Administrator

Residents and Cottage Owners Association

Richard Rheault

Administrator

Residents and Cottage Owners Association

 



[1]  a division of the Quebec ministry of environment that specializes in dams