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.”
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.
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.
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.