VICTORIA -- Seismic upgrades at a popular Colwood swimming hole on Triangle Mountain are nearing completion and are expected to come in well under budget. 

“I think that the budget was a million and a half and I’m guessing that we’re going to be spending about $1 million at the end of the day,” said Colwood councillor, Stewart Parkinson.

“Not all the bills are in, but we got what I would consider a red-hot price on the tendering of the project so everybody is happy about that,” he said.

The Lookout Brook Dam, at Lookout Lake Park, was built 60 years ago, but it’s original construction process remains a mystery.

“There’s no records of exactly (how it was made), did they get down to solid rock on the base or did they just put stuff on top of topsoil?” Parkinson said.

“One of the lumber companies built it for their purposes but didn’t keep the proper records,” he said.

With concerns about the dam’s ability to withstand an earthquake, Colwood councillors voted in favour of upgrading it.

“The thinking was that if it failed and collapsed there would be a big gush of water going down the hill, impacting a number of homes that have been built since the dam was constructed,” said Parkinson.

“After doing a bunch of study and work it was decided that the best approach was to reinforce it,” he said.

Right now, crews are working to buttress the dam. To stabilize it, workers will dig until they reach solid ground and then use rock layers to widen the base on each side of the dam.

With the project coming in under budget, Colwood council expects to have some leftover money for amenities at the park.

“Exactly how we enhance the park in the future, with perhaps a little sandier beach, maybe some more picnic tables, perhaps even a washroom – there’s lots of choices so we’re sort of looking at that,” Parkinson said.

No decisions have been made about amenities yet and Parkinson says there will be opportunities for public input.

Work on the dam is expected to finish by December.