Sackville’s Engineer says the town is scaling back its plans for Phase II of the Lorne Street flood control project.
Dwayne Acton explains the town will not be able to build one of two large, storm water retention ponds within the project’s $2.9 million budget.
Instead, it issued a tender on June 1 for the construction of one pond south of St. James Street along with ditches and concrete culverts under road and rail crossings as well as a new double-gated aboiteau that would be able to discharge more water into the Tantramar River than the present wooden one.
Original plans called for construction of a second large retention pond south of the CN Rail Line behind the community gardens, but Acton says that area is now designated as the possible site of a future pond when money becomes available.
He says after the provincial environmental impact assessment (EIA), the town is being required to do a study of birds in the area and further analysis of the wetlands. It will also be hiring an architect to help with the design of the new aboiteau near the river. To read the results of the EIA review and the conditions for provincial approval of the project, click here.
A 15-page report from engineers at Stantec Consulting, included as part of the tender package, describes a number of potentially expensive hurdles that will have to be overcome before the project can be completed in the 33-acre (13.4 hectare) area between Lorne Street and the river.
For example, Stantec says specialized equipment will be needed to excavate the retention pond south of St. James because soft clay soils will not support the weight of conventional heavy machinery.
The Stantec report warns that the clay soils in the retention pond area “are anticipated to be highly susceptible to erosion” and it recommends relatively expensive control measures to prevent a natural meandering of the excavated channels. It adds that “if the channel meanders and poses a risk to nearby infrastructure, we anticipate it would be difficult to repair and costly to mobilize equipment until winter conditions are present.”
The consultants warn that installing culverts under the CN Rail line east of Charles Street will be tricky because “soils at the proposed crossing range from very soft to soft.”
They recommend careful, twice-a-day monitoring to ensure the rails do not sink or twist, immediate suspension of the work if they do, notification of CN and implementation of a contingency plan to restore the rails.
After the work under the rails is completed, the consultants call for daily monitoring for the next week and then weekly monitoring for at least five more weeks with the results communicated to CN.
The Stantec report also notes that engineers found near-surface bedrock in several places that may require specialized equipment to remove.
Acton says the town is planning to hold a public meeting soon to outline its plans in more detail and answer questions about the project.
Meantime, at their next meeting on Monday, town councillors will be asked to approve changes to garbage collection after the town’s contract with Miller Waste expires at the end of the year. (In 2018, the town is paying the company $246,846 to haul its garbage to the Solid Waste Commission.)
Dwayne Acton said that the Southeast Regional Service Commission (SERSC) has been talking about taking over garbage collection. At the moment, individual municipalities arrange for their own collections and for the last seven years, Sackville has contracted it out to Miller Waste.
Acton said he favours putting out a new tender for only five years with an option to renew for two more to give the town flexibility in case SERSC decides to propose a new system.
Acton said he also favours eliminating the summer special collection for bigger items. He and Treasurer Michael Beal explained that at the moment, the town has three other special collections, one for Christmas trees in January, a spring one in May and a fall one in October.
Beal said the one in the summer is the least used and eliminating it could save up to $5,000.
Beal and Acton noted that SERSC also runs four Eco-Depots each year allowing Sackville residents to drop off special items at the Civic Centre every three months.
Finally, Acton recommended continuing the practice of not picking up garbage from apartment buildings with more than four units. He said extending town collection to such buildings would cost at least $65,000 a year.
Councillor Allison Butcher pointed out that continuing the policy means that landlords of larger buildings aren’t required to separate the waste into three streams — green, blue and clear — the way homeowners have to do.
Treasurer Beal said SERSC has been increasing fees for unsorted garbage to encourage landlords to adopt a three stream system.
Mayor Higham said he served on the council that brought in the three-bag system and at the time, apartment building landlords argued they had long-term contracts with haulers who did not have the capacity to pick up garbage from three separate bins.
Councillor Megan Mitton said it’s a big problem that so many residents aren’t participating in sorting their garbage, even though some apartment dwellers want to.
“We have big waste problems basically in our society,” she said, “and we aren’t moving fast enough with making people sort their garbage,” she added. “We’re saying that…living in higher density units is a good thing environmentally — and it is — but it sure makes it less ideal if all of their waste goes to a landfill.”
CAO Phil Handrahan said the town is ready to put the garbage collection contract out to tender with the shorter, five-year term and the elimination of the summer special collection. But other changes, such as adding apartment building collection, would require more time, and with the contract about to expire, a new one needs to be in place by the first of next year.
“So, while I appreciate the interest around wanting to sort, I’m not sure that the clock is in our favour at this point for this current contract,” Handrahan added.