Sackville mayor asks province for $60k to avoid property tax hike

Serge Rousselle, Minister of Local Government

Sackville Town Council has delayed passing the 2018 municipal budget until January after asking the provincial minister of local government for nearly $60,000 to cover its financial shortfall.

It means that the town will defer any property tax increases until council hears from the minister, Serge Rousselle.

In a letter to Rousselle, Mayor Higham blames the province for the town’s predicament because Service New Brunswick oversaw a new tax assessment system that inflated the assessed value of many properties.

To correct the situation, the province reduced Sackville’s assessments by $9.2 million cutting the town’s tax base from $629 million to just under $620 million.

“It seems that they’re penalizing our taxpayers for their [in]competency,” Higham said during Monday’s council meeting. “That doesn’t seem fair.”

Figures attached to Higham’s letter indicate that the province’s financial assistance of $51,854 to cover the town’s lost revenue falls far short of the $108,500 in actual losses. Therefore, the town is seeking an additional $56,646 to make up the difference.

To read Mayor Higham’s letter, click here.

Tax increases

At a special budget meeting on November 29, all seven councillors in attendance asked town staff to draft a 2018 budget that included a small property tax increase to cover the budget shortfall.

Council chose the tax hike instead of cutting services, borrowing the money or taking it out of the capital budget or operating reserves.

The tax increases would have raised residential rates one cent to $1.56 per $100 of assessment, (an extra $10 for a home assessed at $100,000) and business rates one-and-a-half cents to $4.545 per $100 of assessment, ($15 more for a business assessed at $100,000.)

To read my coverage of the November 29 meeting, click here.

Town seeks other changes

Mayor Higham’s letter also asks Serge Rousselle to consider changes in the way the province calculates how much money Sackville receives in “equalization” payments.

The equalization system, which includes a component called “core funding,” is designed to ensure that Sackville residents receive an average level of service at an average level of taxation when compared to residents of similar-sized communities.

Sackville’s treasurer presented a chart to council in November showing that nine other similar-sized towns will be getting an average of $669,753 in equalization and core funding payments next year while Sackville will receive only $66,007, about one-tenth as much. (Sackville receives only the core funding component and no equalization payment.)

To view Treasurer Beal’s chart, click here.

To view a fuller comparison of these similarly sized towns including comparisons of their tax bases and more explanation of core funding and equalization, click here.

Other Sackville grievances

During Monday’s meeting, the mayor said he also wants the province to include Mount Allison’s student population in the calculations for provincial equalization support as well as the use of Sackville’s firefighters and police to respond to emergencies on the TransCanada Highway.

He says Sackville should also be more fully compensated for the subsidized services, including fire protection, that the town provides to the residents of local service districts (LSDs) outside its boundaries.

“Those are all elements that our taxpayers are paying,” Higham said. “We’re looking just for fairness.”

Provincial grant calculations

This table shows that, for municipal tax purposes, Sackville is one of nine towns in Group C. There are a total of seven groups of communities and the groups (A to G) are based on the role communities fulfill within their region and the corresponding scope and level of services they provide.

The core funding that these towns receive from the province is calculated at 16 cents per $100 of the non-residential tax base (excluding provincial and municipal properties).

The province compares Sackville to the other towns in Group C when it calculates equalization payments designed to allow each community to provide an average level of municipal services at an average tax rate. Municipal services include fire and police protection, garbage collection, recreation and cultural services as well as the maintenance of sidewalks and streets.

According to the province, the standard expenditure calculated for Sackville is $1,386 per capita (based on group average and adjusted for density). With a per capita tax base of $113,213, the province says Sackville can raise $1,410 per capita on its own at an average tax rate and therefore, does not qualify for equalization funding.

(Sources: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of New Brunswick, 2018 Tax Bases and Community Funding and Equalization Grant and Marc André Chiasson, Communications officer, New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government & Office of the Attorney General, December 1, 2017).

Posted in New Brunswick government, Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

NS company buying land on Cattail Ridge, but no word yet on development plans

Two Percy Best properties with about 600 feet of frontage on Cattail Ridge. The smaller property & about half of the larger one are being sold to Parsons Investments Ltd. of Kingston, N.S.

A Nova Scotia development company that builds and leases rental properties is buying a large chunk of land in Sackville across from the Ultramar gas station on Cattail Ridge.

The land, extending about 600 feet along Cattail Ridge from the Westmorland vet clinic to Bridge Street, has been cleared of birch trees by its present owner, Percy Best, who is selling most of it to Parsons Investments Ltd. of Kingston, Nova Scotia.

On its website, Parsons Investments says that since 1962, it has been developing rental properties for retail, residential, industrial and commercial tenants “ranging from international corporations to mom and pop shops.” The company also provides rental space for government agencies.

Scott Hearn, a senior executive at Parsons, refused to say how the company plans to develop the land near TransCanada Highway exit 506 until the sale becomes final in about two months.

“Call me back and I’ll talk to you then,” Hearn said recently during a brief telephone conversation.

He would not comment on rumours that Ambulance New Brunswick (ANB) will be moving its Sackville operations to part of the property near the Westmorland Animal Hospital on Robson Avenue.

There are unconfirmed reports that Parsons Investments will build the new ambulance facility and lease it back to ANB.

In response to a query from Warktimes, Paul Cormier, facilities manager for ANB, issued a written statement that reads:

“Ambulance New Brunswick issued a request for proposals and is in the process of evaluating options with our developer. There should be more information on details available in the coming weeks.”

Best predicts jobs

Percy Best says he conducted thorough research on Parsons Investments before selling most of the land to them. (He did retain a fairly large portion, however, on Bridge Street near the old bridge abutment.)

“Any research I did on them, and it was a LOT, shows them to be one of the best, and most honest, down-to-earth developers that we could ever hope for,” Best wrote in an e-mail.

“They will be able to do much more than I could ever do in putting in businesses that will make Sackville proud and create a few more jobs.”

Meantime, Best was among 21 other Sackville residents who attended a workshop Thursday night at Town Hall to exchange ideas about making TransCanada Highway exit 506 more attractive to visitors.

Landscaping and design

Workshop participants exchanging ideas for developing exit 506 (click to enlarge)

In November, Sackville Town Council awarded a $27-thousand contract to Ekistics Planning and Design of Dartmouth to conduct a study of the area around the exit. The landscaping and architectural design firm has been asked to determine what physical improvements would be needed to facilitate economic development at the town’s eastern gateway.

At last night’s workshop, Ekistic planners Rob Leblanc and Matthew Brown gathered ideas from residents ranging from proposals for a grocery, restaurant, bakery and gift centre similar to the Masstown Market near Truro to an enhanced garden linking to an extensive network of walking trails that would use dykes in the area.

Colville park?

Retired Mount Allison music professor Janet Hammock explained her idea for a park honouring the artist Alex Colville who lived and worked in Sackville from the mid-1940s until 1973 when he moved to Wolfville.

“The idea would be that people would actually come into this area which is right by the Tantramar River overlooking the double bridge there where he painted five or six of his most famous paintings,” Hammock said.

She added that Colville’s paintings could be displayed on plaques allowing people to compare the paintings to the actual vistas that inspired him.

“Going out of this park there’d be a big sign which would direct you to other places in town where you could see things like Colville’s studio, the arts wall, the Owens Art Gallery and the Athletic Centre,” Hammock said.

“He’s world famous, so I think we could capitalize on that.”

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To tell the planners what you think should happen at exit 506, click here.

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Declining enrolment at Mount Allison University

Robert Inglis, Mount Allison V.P. Finance

Mount Allison experienced a significant decline in first-year enrolment this year according to the university’s vice president of finance.

Robert Inglis told Sackville town councillors Monday night that Mt. A. had planned to attract 700 new students this fall, but as of October 1st, only 600 had enrolled in their first year compared with 641 last fall.

“This results in a shortfall in our revenue,” Inglis said, adding that the university will use its financial reserves to make up the difference this year and has already stepped up its recruitment efforts for next year.

“We’re hopeful that, that 600 entering class can be increased to a more traditional level, say around 650 or so,” Inglis said.

Overall figures

Figures released by the Association of Atlantic Universities show that as of October 1, Mount Allison had a total enrollment of 2,180 full-time students, 70 fewer than last fall and an overall decline of 3.1 per cent, the steepest in New Brunswick.

St. Thomas University in Fredericton experienced an enrolment decline of 0.9 per cent, while the University of New Brunswick and Université de Moncton had slight increases.

To view figures for all 16 public universities in Atlantic Canada, click here.

Enrolment declines can have a significant impact on university operating budgets because revenues from student tuition and other fees often exceed government grants.

At Mount Allison, for example, government grants totalled just over $25 million in the last fiscal year while revenues from students came to more than $30.5 million.

To view the university’s latest consolidated financial statements, click here.

Major renovations

During his presentation at last night’s town council meeting, Robert Inglis outlined three large renovation projects that could also attract more students to Mt. A.

He said exterior work should be completed this winter followed by interior renovations to convert the former fine arts building on York Street into a research and learning centre focussing on so-called WET sciences such as biology and environmental studies.

Inglis said the 50-year-old chemistry building is undergoing major upgrades, while Windsor Hall, the university’s largest student residence, will be closed in May for a complete refurbishment that will include summer conference facilities and a first-floor multi-purpose room.

Presidential search

Inglis said the search is well underway to replace Mount Allison President Robert Campbell whose second, extended term expires on July 1st. (Campbell was first appointed in 2006.)

Ron Outerbridge, chair of the search committee, sent an e-mail to Mt. A. students, faculty and staff last month reporting progress.

“Many excellent candidates have come forward and we continue to review and assess their qualifications,” the e-mail said. “We expect to narrow the search to a smaller set of preferred candidates in December or early January.”

Outerbridge said the finalists “will be invited to campus to engage with the community.”

The Mount Allison Board of Regents is expected to appoint the new university president at its next scheduled meeting in February.

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Sackville councillors OK tax hike in 2018 budget

During a special budget meeting Wednesday night, Sackville councillors directed town staff to prepare a 2018 budget with property tax increases that would affect both homeowners and businesses.

If, as seems certain, council approves the increases on December 11, the residential property tax rate would rise one cent to $1.56 per $100 of assessment. Treasurer Michael Beal said that would cost someone with a home assessed at $100,000, an extra $10 next year.

The basic commercial rate would rise 1.5 cents to $4.545 per $100 of assessment and add an extra $15 on next year’s tax bill for a business assessed at $100,000.

Province chops tax base

All seven councillors present at last night’s meeting endorsed the tax hike after hearing that the province had chopped Sackville’s overall property tax base by $9.2 million to compensate for problems caused by the new digital property assessment system.

CAO Phil Handrahan said the town already knew it would lose revenue as a result of hundreds of successful assessment appeals this year, but did not expect a further $7 million reduction in assessment to compensate for the previous year.

Beal said it’s the first time in his 24 years with the town that he’s seen a reduction in its provincially set tax base, in this case from over $629 million this year to just under $620 million in 2018.

Sackville got shafted

Councillor Bill Evans said he understood that the province was freezing assessments next year and that all municipalities would be facing revenue losses.

“[But] a nine million dollar cut in our tax base is not at all what we expected,” he added. “There is only, I think, one other community which took a cut more than ours and that was Moncton, which is more than 10 times bigger than we are,” Evans said.

“Sackville really got shafted here.”

Budget rewrite

Handrahan said that when Service New Brunswick informed the town about the $9.2 million cut in the tax base, town staff were forced to rejig the first draft of the budget released on November 20.

Treasurer Beal took council through a list of reductions from the first draft to the second that, he said, would not affect services. They included a $10,000 reduction in the projected budget for ice maintenance and skate sharpening at the Civic Arena; $7,000 less than projected for street trees and ballfields and the elimination of $6,000 for an external Heritage Officer.

To read the list of reductions from the first budget draft to the second, click here.

All in all, Beal said he was able to shave nearly $120,000 from the budget leaving a shortfall of almost $62,000.

He presented town council with five choices: (1) increase residential property taxes by one cent per $100 of assessed value and 1.5 cents for businesses; (2) cut $62,000 in town services; (3) take the money from the town’s operating reserves of $97,888; (4) reduce the capital fund which pays for such things as roads and sidewalks or, (5) borrow $62,000.

Mayor Higham, who doesn’t vote except to break a tie, said he would favour taking $10,000 out of operating reserves and $50,000 out of the capital fund.

Councillors favour tax increases

However as councillors spoke, it became clear that all seven favoured a tax increase to close the $62,000 gap. (Councillor Michael Tower was absent.)

Although Councillors Aiken, Phinney and Black called for a review of town services, no one at Wednesday’s meeting wanted to cut any of them now or chop capital funding.

Several expressed concern about taking money from operating reserves when it might be needed for unexpected expenditures such as the snow removal costs that came in $100,000 over budget three years ago; and no one favoured borrowing the money.

After hearing from Beal that Sackville taxes have not gone up for three years, Councillor Joyce O’Neill said she would favour the small tax increase.

“I hear people telling me the town’s spending way too much money, but if we turned around and cut services, they’d be at us a lot harder,” O’Neill said. “They’ll say ‘we want our services.'”

“I know raising taxes isn’t popular,” said Councillor Megan Mitton adding that if people are paying ten, twenty or thirty dollars more per year, then it spreads the costs out.

“That’s what the purpose of taxes is,” Mitton said. “I like taxes,” she added. “Is that political suicide?” she asked with a laugh.

Posted in Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Sackville questioned about environmental impact of $2.9 million flood-control project

Cheery sign near Charles St. and CN railway, but questions remain about environmental impact of flood-control project

The Town of Sackville and Crandall Engineering of Moncton must answer a series of environmental questions before construction can begin on a massive flood-control project in a 33 acre (13.4 hectare) area between Lorne Street and the Tantramar River.

The project is currently undergoing a formal environmental impact assessment that must be completed before the provincial environment minister approves it.

As part of that review, a federal-provincial committee raised serious concerns late last month in a six-page letter signed by Christie Ward of the New Brunswick Department of the Environment.

Among other things, the letter sharply criticized the town for not submitting information on species that may be at risk during construction, including ground-nesting birds such as the common nighthawk and bobolink.

“Please be advised it is not possible to adequately evaluate the effects of the project on migratory birds, species at risk, and species of conservation concern, based on the limited information provided,” the letter said.

It also chided the town for not outlining steps to avoid or minimize harm to such species.

The review committee stopped short of requiring a full biological inventory of the area, a process that could take up to a year. It did, however, call for follow-up field surveys by professional biologists, with the results reported to the “appropriate regulatory agencies for review.”

Town responds

In its formal response on behalf of the town, Crandall Engineering promised to gather information on species at risk and to come up with a plan to mitigate any damage, but it did not promise further surveys by professional biologists, since it said construction won’t be happening during bird-nesting season.

That response will now be assessed by the federal-provincial, technical review committee to determine if it meets the necessary requirements.

The committee is also calling on the town and Crandall to fulfill a number of other requirements, including detailed mapping of all wetlands in the area, taking steps to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, and preventing the release of hazardous materials during construction.

To read the technical review committee’s letter, click here.

To read Crandall’s responses on behalf of the town, click here.

Project revised

Drawing showing the scope of flood-control project with two large retention ponds outlined in purple: the first, south of St. James St. and the second, south of the CN rail line, east of Charles St.

As part of the environmental impact assessment, the town was required to hold a meeting last week to gather comments and questions from the public. A drawing showed the two large retention ponds that will be designed to store flood water during major storms until it can be discharged to the Tantramar River at low tide.

The project includes about 1.8 kilometres of channels to carry the stormwater such as major new ditches, concrete culverts under road and rail crossings, as well as a new aboiteau near the river that can carry four times more water than the present wooden one.

Town Engineer Dwayne Acton explained that the $2.9 million project no longer includes a wetland pond just east of Lorne Street and north of St. James. The town hopes that Ducks Unlimited will construct and pay for that smaller pond sometime next year as an extension of the Sackville Waterfowl Park.

Engineering experiment?

Sackville environmental consultant Sabine Dietz asked for an example of a similar scheme using large retention ponds to store stormwater on a low-lying flood plain rather than further up in the drainage basin.

“Has this been done somewhere where we can actually look at how it works?” Dietz asked. “Or are we looking at an experiment here?”

Crandall engineer Nathan LeBlanc said he didn’t have an immediate answer, but would get back with more information.

Later, Dwayne Acton said the town is well aware of the need to construct retention ponds closer to areas like the old quarry, where flood waters originate.

“We’re well aware of it,” he said. “If we could store water a little further up, that helps us down there and we’re looking at that…It is on our radar.”

To read more information about the flood-control project that the town filed as part of the environmental impact assessment, click here.

Note: Anyone who wishes to submit a comment or question on the flood-control project to the Town Engineer can do so by e-mailing d.acton@sackville.com before 3 p.m. on December 5th.

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Supreme Court releases Lordon Report; town lawyer says it’s not confidential

Supreme Court of Canada, photo from Wikipedia

The Supreme Court of Canada has released a copy of the Lordon Report to The New Wark Times and Sackville’s lawyer has abandoned claims that the report is confidential and cannot be published.

The 55-page report is in Supreme Court files as part of a case in which Louis Béliveau sought to appeal his dismissal from the Sackville Heritage Board. The case has now been withdrawn after Béliveau and the town reached a settlement earlier this month.

The Supreme Court also sent a requested document in which town lawyer George Cooper certifies there’s nothing in the files that is confidential and there are no limitations on public access:

…there is no sealing order or confidentiality order in effect in the file from a lower court or the Court and no document filed includes information that is subject to a sealing or confidentiality order or that is classified as confidential by legislation; there is no ban, under an order or legislation, on the publication of evidence or the names or identity of a party or witness; and there is no information under legislation, that is subject to limitations on public access.” (To read Cooper’s certificate click here.)

After obtaining advice from a lawyer who specializes in media law, I’ve decided to publish the Lordon Report as released by the Supreme Court. The $47,000 report describes what went on behind closed doors as the Heritage Board, the mayor, town councillors and municipal staff dealt with issues arising from the many controversies around demolition of the Sackville United Church in September 2015.

The town hired Moncton lawyer Kathleen Lordon in July 2015 to conduct an investigation after members of the Heritage Board sent a letter to Town Council complaining about “blatant interference” in Board decisions. The members noted that two previous letters to the mayor and council had gone unanswered. (To read the June 14, 2015 letter obtained from court files, click here.)

Highlights from Lordon Report

(Note: page numbers are those at top right-hand corner of each page)

1. The application from J.N. Lafford Realty Inc. to demolish the Sackville United Church was received by the Heritage Board in mid-August 2014. It was clearly a sensitive and controversial topic from the beginning. On September 9, 2014, the mayor, councillors and members of the Heritage Board met behind closed doors with the town’s lawyer to hear advice on legal matters, including interpreting the town’s heritage bylaw. Heritage Board members were offended by comments made by Mayor Bob Berry near the end of the meeting about getting on with the job of dealing with the Lafford application without undue delay. At page 143, Lordon analyzes the mayor’s comments, suggesting they got things off to a rocky start between the Heritage Board and Town Council. She writes that the incident “points to the heightened sensitivity and pressure Board members felt in dealing with the Lafford application.” A private e-mail from board member Jerry Hicks, found in court documents, comments much more strongly on the mayor’s remarks. (To read that e-mail, click here.)

2. At page 155, Lordon mentions an allegation from the Laffords’ lawyer, Timothy MacDonald, that board members were also members of SPLASH, the Sackville citizens’ group trying to save the church. (That allegation was relayed to the Heritage Board when Mayor Bob Berry forwarded MacDonald’s letter to it on November 14, 2014, and added a few comments of his own.) Lordon finds no evidence that any members belonged to SPLASH, but she disagrees with how they interpreted conflict of interest rules and writes that members of SPLASH and their lawyer should not have been allowed to make presentations to the board. Lordon says little about the mayor’s letter, which warned board members “that there are limits to the protection you have while acting in your role as Heritage Board members. For example, if Mr. MacDonald’s allegations are true, i.e. that certain Board members deliberately and knowingly acted while in a conflict of interest and deliberately frustrated the process to avoid the issuance of a demolition permit when obligated to do so, there may be the possibility of personal liability for your actions.” (To read Mayor Berry’s letter, click here.)

3. The Lordon Report has much to say about a proposed plan to salvage artifacts from the church before demolition. John Lafford agreed to such a plan in a letter dated December 30, 2014. (To read that letter, click here.) Lordon clearly sympathizes with board members who wanted such a plan, adding that the heritage bylaw required one. Her account of the March 17, 2015 meeting of the Heritage Board begins near the bottom of page 130, stretching on for five pages and recounting how David Stewart — one of three new board members appointed on March 9, 2015, just a few days before the meeting — moved a motion to issue a demolition permit with no salvage plan. Councillor Ron Corbett chaired the meeting, but could not control it. Chaos ensued, and afterward no one knew for sure what had happened. (Lordon herself tried to piece things together with the help of an audio recording.) On March 19, 2015, Heritage Officer Kate Bredin signed a demolition permit with salvage conditions attached. On April 20, without telling other board members, Chair Ron Corbett issued a revised permit with no conditions, backdating it to March 19. This set the stage for a conflagration on April 21, 2015 when the Heritage Board next met and hostilities erupted. (See pages 135-141) Board member Louis Béliveau ordered town manager Jamie Burke to leave; Burke took other municipal staff with him, including Kate Bredin, and after that, CAO Phil Handrahan ordered staff not to attend Heritage Board meetings — a situation that lasted for the next four months.

4. Lordon’s report recommends several changes that the town has since implemented, including amending the heritage bylaw, improving board procedures, and drafting a code of conduct. The report singles out only one person for punishment. At page 160, Lordon begins her discussion of Louis Béliveau’s testimony before the municipal appeal board where SPLASH was seeking to overturn the demolition permit the Heritage Board had issued. Lordon concludes that Béliveau’s decision to testify amounted to misconduct and that Town Council should do something about it. (Page 163) Council reacted by suspending Béliveau and then firing him from the board in January 2016, touching off a series of court cases with bulging files of photocopied documents that shed light on the tumultuous events before the church fell. One of the more poignant of those documents is an e-mail dated April 28, 2015 to his fellow board members from Eugene Goodrich. “As someone who cared very much about the church as an invaluable part of Sackville’s architectural heritage, voting to support the motion of March 17 was the most distasteful and distressing thing I have had to do in recent memory,” he wrote. For her part, Lordon herself praised board members for their diligence and dedication. On page 152 she writes: “It is difficult to criticize the process employed by the Board in dealing with this [demolition] permit…There is no evidence that their motives were improper at any time during their deliberations. Some have said that members…were motivated by their desire to save the Church instead of being focused on the job before them, the demolition application. Nevertheless members insist and the evidence supports the fact that they were always trying to ensure that they employed proper process in dealing with this application. The evidence indicates clearly that they were not prepared for the role of decision-maker in such an application. Their efforts were nonetheless, exhaustive and well-intentioned.”

To read the complete Lordon Report, click here.

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Town plans to dig three ponds to handle Lorne St. flooding

Diagram showing pond #1 (south of Bridge St.) pond #2 (south of St. James St.) and pond #3 (south of the CN Rail line)

Phase two of the Lorne Street reconstruction project will likely include three ponds to store storm water that flows into the downtown from the old Sackville quarry during heavy rains.

Pierre Plourde of Crandall Engineering showed a diagram of the ponds, which are still being designed, during a public meeting held at the Town Hall on November 1st.

Although the plans are still preliminary, Plourde explained that the ponds appear to be the best choice for retaining large volumes of storm water especially at high tide.

“We need to make sure that we can fill those ponds as fast as possible,” he said pointing to large pipes that will carry water under Lorne, St. James and Charles Streets as well as under the CN Rail line. (Pipes marked in red on diagram above).

“As it rains, you’re bringing a lot of water to these ponds,” he said. “When the water cannot go out anymore, water goes up in these ponds and when the tide goes down, water can be directed away.”

The diagram shows the pipes, ditches and a new aboiteau that would convey the water from pond number three to the river as the tide recedes.

Location of ponds

Town engineer Dwayne Acton said pond three would be located on town-owned property behind the community gardens while pond two would be just south of St. James Street.

He explained that the town plans to work with Ducks Unlimited to create the smaller pond number one, near the Marshlands Inn, as a kind of extension to the Waterfowl Park.

“Pond number two and pond number three are what we call ‘dry’ ponds,” Plourde said adding, “They’re there to hold water during a major storm event.”

At other times, the two larger ponds will mainly be dry with no more than a small channel flowing through them.

Plourde said the project would require an environmental impact assessment and approval from the provincial environment department.

Landscaping plea

Pierre Plourde (L) and Nathan LeBlanc of Crandall Engineering with Town Engineer Dwayne Acton (R)

Sabine Dietz, a local environmental consultant, congratulated the engineers on adopting new ways of managing storm water, but also wondered about landscaping the two larger ponds.

“You’ve got a huge opportunity to do something besides just dry ponds,” she said pointing to the possibility of planting trees and creating walking trails that would become assets for the town.

“You’ve got so much space there, I’m really excited about this, what you could do with it,” Dietz said.

“I feel the same way,” Dwayne Acton replied adding that as a resident of the town he would like to see “a beautiful facility that yes, can hold a lot of water, but also, we can walk around it, we can see birds and exercise and I think that is something we are going to try to aim for.”

Phase Two of the Lorne Street project will cost about $2.9 million. The federal government will pay $1.45 million with the town and the province each contributing about $725,000.

Posted in Environment, Town of Sackville | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments