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.

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

  1. Rima Azar says:

    In an earlier article by New Wark Times (posted on May 17th, 2017), it was written that “the town is hoping to issue tenders soon for the second phase that is still being designed”.

    In this article (November 9, 2017), it is written that Town engineer Dwayne Acton 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”.

    Is this plan by the town an outcome of a tender process? Just being a bit curious here :).

    • Sharon Hicks says:

      Phase 2 is still in the preliminary stages of planning … after all these months there is still no definitive solid ‘plan’ in place yet … they did tender the planning phase, which is part of what Crandall Engineering has been working on all these months, along with the town engineer. From what we can gather, they have changed their planning ideas a few times, and still seem to be uncertain as to just how and where to proceed. We’ve been told that as soon as they have a “plan”, then they will go to tender for the actual work to be done.

  2. Geoff Martin says:

    Here’s a question. Does the plan include a provision to prevent high salt water, including from storm surges, from entering the town from the outlets in the river? This was the function of the aboiteaux that were a fundamental part of the Acadian dikes–they only allowed fresh water to flow seaward. We wouldn’t want a situation like in New Orleans, in which the Katrina storm surge pushed water up the “Mississippi River Gulf Outlet” (MR. GO) and made the flooding in the city much worse.

    ADDED COMMENT from Bruce Wark: Geoff, thanks for the question. I don’t have a complete answer myself except to say that a new aboiteau would be a part of this plan if it goes ahead. Unfortunately, the Crandall diagram is a bit fuzzy and therefore, hard to read, but there is a new aboiteau structure indicated if you look just north of the northerly sewage lagoon near the river. (Middle white box) I didn’t say this in my story — and maybe I should have — but the Crandall engineer said that the province (agriculture and DTI, I believe) were opposed to routing the water farther south and so, that’s why we’re looking at those three ponds plus big pipes, drainage ditches and a new aboiteau. Still all preliminary though. Until the design is completed, for example, we won’t know how big or deep the ponds might be.

  3. Rima Azar says:

    Should we worry about mosquitoes in the wet ponds?

    ADDED COMMENT from Bruce Wark: This issue was raised during the public meeting and the answer was that the two bigger ponds will mainly be dry except during big rain storms.

    • Sharon Hicks says:

      While it’s true that the stated reply was to the effect that the ponds will be “mostly dry”, that could also be interpreted as “partly wet” … it wasn’t made clear whether the “little channel” they plan to have in the middle of the ”dry ponds’ will be flowing, or just sitting there waiting for rainfall to fill up the pond. If it is just sitting there, with little or no flow to the channels, we can’t lose sight of the fact that it would create the perfect preferred breeding ground for mosquitoes. So, perhaps if that is going to be the case, they might want to think about setting up some bat houses!! – bats can eat a LOT of mosquitoes in a single night. 🙂

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