The iconic dam at Bolingbroke that created Bobs Lake is going to be rebuilt. Careful consideration has been made in scheduling this complex, in-water construction, due to timing challenges associated with fish spawning, and both high and low water periods. Due to these challenges, the optimal month to begin construction is in early July. Although, earlier or later starting dates are possible, a July start minimizes the possibility of the project running into a more challenging spring season. As the design process is still ongoing, a summer 2017 construction start was not possible and therefore July 2018 is the new target. Due to poor quality rock at the current dam site, it is anticipated that the new dam will be located approximately 40m upstream. Additionally, a second spillway will be added to the dam in order to meet current Canadian Dam Association safety guidelines. This additional spillway will act as a redundancy in case one spillway is ever blocked or requires repair. Additionally, design work has been undertaken in order to create a new walleye spawning habitat in the stream channel that will be created between the new dam and the existing dam.
Community engagement is also underway for this project and will continue through the summer and into 2018. This will include additional public meetings that will be coordinated with community and lake associations. The new dam will not alter the water management strategy for Bobs Lake and residents should not experience any significant change in water levels as a result of construction.
The replacement of the Bobs Lake dam is part of Parks Canada’s three billion dollar investment over five years to support infrastructure work to heritage, and other assets. Dams have existed on Bobs Lake at Bolingbroke since at least 1821. In 1870 the dam site was purchased by the Government of Canada in order to enhance the size of the reservoir for the Northern Sector of the Rideau Canal. In 1871 the dam was significantly increased in size and the volume of water in Bobs Lake was raised considerably.