Sackville revises flood control plan, but mayor says town still at risk from heavy storms

Mayor John Higham

According to Mayor John Higham, Sackville is still vulnerable to flooding from heavy rainstorms in spite of the millions that have been spent so far on the Lorne Street flood control project.

“The water modelling shows 160,000 cubic metres of water could come down…in a 24-hour period under existing rainfalls that are measured in this area and that amount of water would flood Lorne Street significantly,” Higham said during Tuesday’s town council meeting.

He was speaking during discussion of the town’s latest plan to build a large water retention pond in the marshy area east of Lorne and south of St. James Streets with a second, much smaller pond across from the intersection of Dufferin and Lorne Streets.

Water from the ponds would flow through pipes and culverts under the CN rail line and then under Crescent Street to an existing ditch that meanders across the marshland near the old railway station on its way to the Tantramar River.

The town is hoping that New Brunswick’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) will deepen and widen that ditch along with others in the area, but Mayor Higham says even that would not be enough to prevent downtown flooding from major 50 or 100-year storms.

“The [new] pond will hold 40,000 cubic metres of water, that’s what the design is for,” Higham said, “and the potential of even a one in 50 [year] flood from that area is almost three times that.”

Original plan 

The town originally planned to build two large water retention ponds and a system of pipes, culverts and ditches that would carry storm water across the industrial park to a double-gated aboiteau at the river near the town’s sewage lagoons. But bids for the project came in at nearly double its $2.9 million budget even after the town had eliminated the second, larger pond.

Existing ditch on far side of Crescent St. near Armtec plant

Higham says the town is still hoping to go ahead with its original plan, but needs more cost-sharing money from the federal and provincial governments before it can proceed.

“What we’re doing now is all that we could afford to do with the money that was left. So, it’s not going to solve all of the problems,” Higham said, “and we’re in that budgetary situation where we don’t have much choice.”

The mayor was responding Tuesday to persistent questions from Sackville resident Keith Carter who along with others, including Percy Best, have long argued that the town should abandon its plans for expensive water retention ponds surrounded by walking trails and rely instead on deeper ditches that would carry storm water in a southerly direction to Carters Brook in West Sackville.

However, in September, Crandall Engineering consultant, Pierre Plourde told council the original plan is essential for long-term flood control.

Quarry pond

Plourde also outlined plans to build a retention pond in the old Sackville quarry to prevent storm water from flooding the downtown during heavy rains.

However, Town Engineer Dwayne Acton said on Tuesday that the quarry project could only be undertaken during the summer months, so it was not included in the latest tender package issued on November 6.

He added that the quarry retention pond is still being planned, but the town needs to consult with its funding partner, the federal Clean Water and Wastewater Fund, on the scope of the project.

Burger King drive-thru?

In other news, town planner Lori Bickford said during Tuesday’s meeting that the Burger King fast food chain has received a building permit to renovate the interior of the old Wendy’s restaurant at TransCanada highway Exit 504.

The Sackville Wendy’s closed on December 31, 2014, a couple of weeks after Burger King merged with Tim Hortons.

Councillor Michael Tower said Burger King has been interviewing staff for its new Sackville location.

Bickford indicated Burger King would be allowed to operate a drive-thru as long as it adheres to the specifications in the original development agreement with Tim Hortons/Wendy’s.

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14 Responses to Sackville revises flood control plan, but mayor says town still at risk from heavy storms

  1. Rima Azar says:

    Bravo for the good business news. Well, since drive thus seem to be booming in Sackville now, let’s hope Ms. Wendy Alder will finally have the green light for her Robin’s Donuts franchise at the Trantramar Gas bar station near Exit 506 on the TransCanada Highway!

  2. G says:

    I would really like to a mouse in the corner when council explains this drive thru situation to Wendy. Oh, who said it all depends who you are in this town? And did i mention Wendy and her family happen to be local.

  3. Percy Best says:

    The more overly complex, and the higher the price that the ‘consultant’ Crandall Engineering can make this rather straightforward project, then the more Crandall will pocket. LUCKY THEM! The accumulated consulting fees alone, for the current simplified version of Lorne Street Phase II that is now out to tender is, at this point, in excess of half a million dollars without a sod being turned.

    All our Town had to do was to consult DIRECTLY with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and they would have learned from them, as we did, that all that is needed to rectify the Town’s flooding problem, from its own watershed area, is to spend two weeks with a large excavator to clean out the ditch from Crescent Street/Lorne Street over to Carters Brook via the marshland and then install a new 6′ aboiteau there through the dyke, as is recommended in the Hilcon Report, which DTI had recently done. Then, twice a day, eight hours at a time, all the water from the town would empty out.

    DTI’s estimated price is under half a million dollars for the complete project. So, instead of just pulling the plug out of the bottom of the ‘bathtub’ our Town management wants to buy more ‘bathtubs’. Sadly, they would prefer to spend gobs of the taxpayer’s money on a project that does not need to be done this way and unbelievably they are still planning on cutting through the Industrial Park by spending many more millions of tax dollars with the next Lorne Street Project, Phase III. This will only duplicate what DTI is already planning on doing in the near future. Crandall Engineering will be ecstatic I am sure.

    Whatever happened to Town Management looking after the best interests of the citizens? During last night’s Town Council meeting when a question was asked to the Mayor about the project, he stated that he hadn’t seen the drawings yet. How is it that it ever went to tender in the first place then? I would certainly question whether any of our Town Councillors have ever seen the drawings either. They are ONLY available for citizens to look at by travelling to the Moncton and North East Construction Association Building on Collishaw Street in Moncton.

  4. Sharon Hicks says:

    Well, it appears we are back on the Lorne Street Phase 2 Project merry-go-round once again. How many sets of plans have they presented to us already now? – I’ve lost count!

    But I haven’t lost count of the engineering & design fees we have already paid to Crandall’s Engineering Consultants for this long-drawn-out Phase 2 process, over a period of the past 2 years. And now they are talking about Phase 3, and perhaps even more phases yet to come!! This is a grand arrangement for Crandall’s, of course – to line up as many future projects as possible, to add more dollars to their corporate coffers.

    At this point it’s right around a Half Million Dollars that we have paid to Crandall’s for the Phase 2 design process – and still not a spadeful of earth has been turned. And we also have to bear in mind that there is still no guarantee that this particular set of plans will be successful in attracting contractor bids that come in at or below the budget amount. What then? Another round of planning? And more design fees?

  5. Wendy Alder says:

    So no drive thrus allowed in the Town but big business can come to town and have one because of a development agreement that overrides a bylaw. Apparently the development agreement transfers with the building! All the fuss I went through to be denied, denied, denied and someone else walks in no questions asked. Doesn’t seem fair to me….

    • Louis says:

      +1 on “like” for me. (I don’t have a WordPress account.)

      Now, to be clear, I have no problem with Burger King having a drive-through.
      Just like I have no problem with your location having a drive-through!
      I wouldn’t want a drive-through right in the middle of downtown Sackville, but in areas like highway exits? Perfect!

      In fact, I think that your location having a drive-through would have been a huge benefit to the town as a whole: people could have stopped there, gassed up, gotten a coffee and doughnuts and then be encouraged to drive “through” the rest of Sackville on the way out to the other exit, increasing benefits for ALL local retailers and restaurants due to an increased customer base. That doesn’t even mean that it happens immediately – but someone who stops in for a doughnut once and drives through might well notice something else and stop for that instead the next time.

      Your drive-through would have been a benefit to *everyone*, in that scenario.

      Of course, “This is Sackville”, so that kind of thinking doesn’t happen.

  6. Rima Azar says:

    Dear Sharon, Percy + G. (“et al.”, I am sure):
    Could anything be done, you think?
    Just to end on a lighter note, the NB Ombudsman’s website has an Arabic translation now :)–It reads very well in all languages.

    • Sharon Hicks says:

      Thanks Rima … not sure, but worth looking into … these days it seems to us that the wagging tail is getting bigger, while the dog is getting smaller …

  7. Nancy Read says:

    I agree – something more should be done to carry the water away – and the ditch on Crescent Street should be cleaned and widened as the first choice – however I am wondering why the town wants to go further when they are unable to maintain the ditches put in place by phase I. I was told that they would have to be kept cleaned out and not left to get in the condition that had happened before – well guess what – that has not happened. Just take a look at the ditches along St. James Street – already starting to be overgrown by plant materials. Not so evident now as before the frost – but off to a good start. And why were the sides of the ditches put along the new sewer system hydro-seeded and then left to grown weeds/hardhacks, ect to the height of two feet or better along them.

  8. G says:

    I thought the town were going to dig the ditches. Isnt that why they were practising on the ditch digging in front of Percys land.

    • Sharon Hicks says:

      hmmm … well, let’s see – that was a ditch that wasn’t needed, on private land where it wasn’t wanted … What we’re talking about here is digging / maintaining a ditch that IS needed, and it’s on Town land … However, if they WERE to clean out the ditches, then the water would drain away !! – and oh my goodness !! – there’d be no more reason for them to chase more grant money!!

  9. Percy Best says:

    I wonder why the Mayor is referring to a 24 hour rain and the amount of water that supposedly would accumulate in Town during this period. If the clogged up ditch was simply dug out to a new large aboiteau on Carter’s Brook then the only time the aboiteau gate would be closed would be twice a day for a period of approximately five hours each time when the tide was in. Other than that the gate would be open and all the backed up of water would be allowed to escape.

    The new expanded ditch itself would be quite capable of holding more water than nature is able to ‘throw’ at it during this period of time. There is no need for a separate designated glorified holding pond with a running track around the perimeter and five little islands in the middle. What a terrible waste of time and money to do such a thing when taxpayers dollars are in short supply.

    The 10,000 dump truck trips hauling the 70,000 cubic meters of marsh mud away is a such a terrible waste of fuel that one cannot imagine that anyone with any sense of conservation of natural resources would ever agree to such an endeavour. One minute the Town won’t allow a Robins’ Donut franchise to open because of idling vehicles in a drive thru line and the next minute they approve tens of thousands of gallons of diesel fuel for excavators and dump trucks to be burnt in order to dig an unneeded hole in a swamp.

    Very perplexing decisions the management of ‘OUR’ Town makes at times. It didn’t used to be this way! Who is now looking out for the financial well being of the TAXPAYER?

  10. Rima Azar says:

    Dear Percy:

    The English Oxford dictionary defines *hypocrisy* as being: “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform”.

    Where are the *activists”? It seems to me that people care more about symbols than about concrete local actions these days.

  11. Shawn Mesheau says:

    I am wondering why Council has not invited DTI engineers to present to council and the public the work they will be completing and how it will assist with overall flooding in this area including route 935 and 106 as well as Lorne St.?
    There needs to be coordinated efforts between DTI, Town of Sackville and CN to address the fix.
    It would be nice to have both Crandall and DTI in the room at the same time comparing notes with the public and council.
    As for drive-thrus, there is a zoning in our municipal plan called highway commercial which would be for businesses that would cater to highway traffic. So it would make sense that there would be drive-thrus in a highway commercial area.
    It comes down to a proper development plan to address traffic flow.

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