Colliery Dam Park

One of many paths at Colliery Dam Park. (Photo: Richard Powell)
Moss-covered bedrock at Colliery Dam Park, exposed due to seismic activity resulting from the Chase River Fault which runs below the park. (Photo: David Stanley)
Map of notable locations in the Colliery Dam Park area (Click to enlarge)


Colliery Dam Park (with adjacent Nanaimo Lakes Road Park) is a million-square-meter (1km²) forested public park in Nanaimo, located between Harewood Mines Road and Nanaimo Lakes Road. The park features a network of trails, dog off-leash area, as well as free swimming and fishing.[1]

The Colliery Dams were built in 1910 by the Western Fuel Company to supply water for coal washing and use by miners, mules and horses in the mines, and subsequently supplied water to most of the homes in South Harewood.[2]

In 2012 the city announced they would remove the dams due to seismic risks,[3] but after considerable public protest, $7 million was spent to save the dams.[4]

Colliery Dam Park is directly across the street from 827 Nanaimo Lakes Road and was rumoured to have significance to Lisa's disappearance.

This page lists some of these reported ties.

See also

Harewood Mines × Nanaimo Parkway

searching an area [of Colliery Dam Park] just south of the Parkway near Harewood Mines Road area Wednesday
Nanaimo Daily News, July 25, 2002 (Nelson Bennett)[5]

Following a tip received soon after Lisa's disappearance from a Pennsylvanian psychic, Lisa's grandfather Chief Moses Martin led a team of Tla-o-qui-aht band members to search "an area just south of the Parkway near the Harewood Mines Road area" on July 24th, 2002.[5]

The area searched is about 700 metres from the location of the 1st houseparty to which Lisa and Dallas were taken on Canada Day 2002.[6][7][8]

Google Street View from Nanaimo Parkway at Harewood Mines Road, Nanaimo circa 2009

Upper Reservoir

Two Tla-o-qui-aht divers searched upper Colliery Dam based on information from Chemainus psychic Christine Brant
Nanaimo Daily News, July 26, 2003 (Robert Barron)[9]

Around July 25th, 2003, a pair of Tla-o-qui-aht divers   Lisa’s uncles, Andrew Jackson and Terry Tom[9]   attempted an underwater search of a water reservoir at the Colliery Dam,[10] following a tip from Chemainus psychic Christine Brant, who claims to be a medium. Brant said she connected to Lisa and the missing woman "described an area with three connected bodies of water, a flat-roofed building and grown-in paths.". Don Young, Lisa's father, said the description fits the Colliery Dam area, and, in fact, the family believes Lisa was at a party just a few blocks away on the night she went missing led to the underwater search. "It's frustrating for us that, after all this time, Lisa still hasn't been found," he said. "My family is looking for closure."[9][10] The dive found no signs of Lisa.[11]

The reservoir is about 400 meters from the location of the 1st houseparty to which Lisa and Dallas were taken on Canada Day 2002[6][7][8].

News reports differ on whether the Upper or Lower reservoir was the target of the search.[9][12]

Google Street View of Upper Colliery Dam reservoir, Nanaimo circa 2009

Dogwalker's Distress

Around 6:30pm on July 1st, 2002, a man walking his dog with friends at Colliery Dam Park claimed that he experienced a brief yet intense period of emotional disturbance. Afterwards, the man was immediately convinced that someone had just died, violently, nearby. This was 3 days before the news of Lisa’s disappearance was first in the newspaper.[13]

The following day the man returned to the park and began an organized search that continued into 2003.

The incident occurred exactly 1 kilometre from the location of the 1st houseparty to which Lisa and Dallas were taken on Canada Day 2002.[6][7][8] Both locations lie upon the Chase River Fault.

Google Street View of the actual location of the "dogwalker's incident", near Lower Colliery Dam's reservoir

First houseparty

The first houseparty to which Lisa and Dallas were brought on the night of Lisa's disappearance was located at 827 Nanaimo Lakes Road, which is directly across the street from Colliery Dam Park. More information here.

Google Street View of 827 Nanaimo Lakes Road

Makayla Chang

Makayla Chang's body located at Colliery Dam Park
Global News, May 18, 2017 (Yuliya Talmazan)[14]

In April 2023, 60-year-old Steven Bacon was convicted for the 2017 murder of 16-year-old Makayla Chang.[15][16]

The two had met at the Tim Horton's on Wallace Street.[17] Bacon reportedly spoke on multiple occasions of Lisa's disappearance — specifically her rumoured burial in Colliery Dam Park — and the lack of police progress in the case.[8]

Bacon contacted the MCFD about adopting Makayla. When Makayla turned 16, the relationship became sexual.[17]

On March 17, 2017, Bacon strangled Makayla to death. Bacon's friend and landlord, Kenneth Postman, used his taxi — a wheelchair-accessible van — to move Makayla's body to Colliery Dam Park, burying her in a shallow grave. The next day, Bacon fled on the first ferry from Departure Bay and hitchhiked across Canada.[17]

Police found Makayla's body at Colliery Dam Park in May of 2017.[18]

RCMP investigators had a question for Makayla Chang's mother regarding the investigation into Lisa's disappearance.
Nanaimo News Bulletin, January 3, 2020 (Chris Bush)[19]

In 2020, Makayla's mother was questioned by RCMP in relation to Lisa Marie Young's disappearance[19], possibly indicating that investigators suspected a connection between the two murders.

In April of 2023 Bacon was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.[17]

Chase River Fault

Animated flyover following the path of the Chase River Fault through Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island

The Chase River Fault, a strike-slip tectonic fault line bisects the park, along the path of the Chase River and the reservoirs which make up the Colliery Dam.[20][21][22] Evidence of the fault in the form of striking fissure crevasses and chasms can be seen in several locations within and around the park. One such chasm known to locals simply as The Abyss, located about 1 kilometre from Colliery Dam, has become a popular destination for tourists, hikers, and geologists.[23][24][25]

The Chase River Fault happens to run directly below both 827 Nanaimo Lakes Road and the location of the "dogwalker's incident".

See also

Aerial tour

Aerial tour of Colliery Dam Park (video by 5 Star Media Group)

Watch our video Official RCMP Searches (YouTube)

Watch our video Psychics & Colliery Dam (YouTube)


  1. Brent Patterson, Council of Canadians (June 16, 2014), "Win! Colliery Dam Park Saved!"
  2. Nanaimo Parks, Rec & Culture (January 1, 2022), "Colliery Dam Park" n20220101
  3. Toby Gorman, Nanaimo News Bulletin (October 30, 2012), "City approves removal of two dams in Colliery Dam Park" nnb20121030
  4. Poul Rosen, City of Nanaimo (October 3, 2016), "Lower Colliery Dam - Auxiliary Spillway Final Costs" n20161003
  5. 5.0 5.1 Nelson Bennett, Nanaimo Daily News (July 25, 2002), Lisa's kin follow psychic tip ndn20020725
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Paul Walton, Nanaimo Daily News (May 29, 2003), When sadness turns to anger ndn20030529
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Kendall Hanson, CHEK News (Dec 17, 2020), Nanaimo RCMP conduct new searches in nearly two-decade-old case cn20201217
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 This information was provided directly to the author by a credible, reliable source who was present. ✎ Sworn declaration can be provided as needed.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 Robert Barron, Nanaimo Daily News (July 26, 2003), Divers comb Colliery Dam for Lisa Young ndn20030726
  10. 10.0 10.1 Nanaimo Daily News (July 25, 2003), Divers to search for Young ndn20030725
  11. Nanaimo Daily News (July 29, 2003), Dive shows no sign of Lisa ndn20030729
  12. Paul Walton, Nanaimo Daily News (July 7, 2006), Vigil remembers Lisa Marie Young ndn20060707
  13. This information was obtained first-hand by the author. ✎ Sworn declaration can be provided as needed.
  14. Yuliya Talmazan, Global News (May 18, 2017), RCMP say that a body believed to be that of missing Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang has been located gn20170518
  15. Skye Ryan, CHEK News (June 30, 2018), Family marks 16th anniversary of Lisa Marie Young's vanishing cn20180630
  16. CBC News (April 14, 2023), "Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang's killer sentenced to life in prison" cbc20230414
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Louise Dickson, Times Colonist (April 15, 2023), "‘Cowardly, vicious crime’: Man, 60, sentenced to life for murder of Nanaimo teen" tc20230415
  18. Chris Bush, Nanaimo News Bulletin (June 18, 2020), "Makayla Chang murder investigation concluded, says Nanaimo police" nnb20200618
  19. 19.0 19.1 Chris Bush, Nanaimo News Bulletin (Jan 3, 2020), Person of interest in Makayla Chang murder case arrested on unrelated charge nnb20200103
  20. Doe, Nick (2012-01-21). "Gabriola's shape — including some surmises" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-06-17. Retrieved 2022-06-17.
  21. Seward, Toby (2015-07-08). "Colliery Dams, Nanaimo BC, Lower Dam - Development of Design Alternatives" (PDF). City of Nanaimo. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-06-23. Retrieved 2022-06-23.
  22. Bickford, Corilane (1993-03-23). "Geology and Petrography of the Wellington Seam, Nanaimo Coalfield, Vancouver Island" (PDF). University of British Columbia. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2020-02-27. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  23. Nanaimo, Tourism (2020-01-15). "A Local's Guide To The Abyss & Extension Ridge Trail". Tourism Nanaimo. Retrieved 2022-06-23.
  24. Parcher, Kim (2021-04-01). "The Abyss and Hidden Labyrinth in Nanaimo". Vancouver Island View. Retrieved 2022-06-23.
  25. White, Stephanie (2020-08-02). "BC Has A Hidden Abyss Where The World Splits In Two". Narcity. Vancouver BC. Archived from the original on 2022-06-23. Retrieved 2022-06-23.