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3 Vancouver workers fired after fatal Cleveland Dam water surge

cleveland dam monday oct 5

Three Metro Vancouver employees have been fired in connection with a deadly water surge that occurred when a spillway gate at the Cleveland Dam in North Vancouver opened unexpectedly during maintenance in early October.

A torrent of water was suddenly released into the Capilano River. Two men, a father and son who were downstream, were killed as a result.

A preliminary report released a week after the Oct. 1 surge later found human error related to the programming of the control system was the “clearest contributing factor” in the tragedy.

“Metro Vancouver continues to co-operate fully with external agencies in their investigations and will not be providing further comment at this time,” said the regional district in a statement.

When the water surged down the river, rising by three metres in a matter of minutes, it hit a popular fishing spot where a number of anglers were fishing. Two people pulled into the water were rescued and two swam to shore. Others standing near the water managed to scramble to higher ground before they were hit by the surge.

The preliminary report was released amid calls for Metro Vancouver to make the dam safer.

There is currently no siren or alarm system to warn people if the dam malfunctions. Such a warning system was never installed because of concerns the noise would annoy residents in the Glenmore and Grouse Woods neighbourhoods less than 400 metres away, according to engineering reports from the early 2000s.

The dam, built in 1954, has a history of malfunctioning. Inspection reports from WorkSafeBC detail two errors that left people in danger in 2002.

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