At its meeting on Tuesday, Tantramar council heard about flood control in Sackville as well as answers to questions about dogs, salt and fireworks.
Council was told that work could begin soon on the third and final phase of Sackville’s $14 million Lorne Street flood control system.
Town engineer Jon Eppell said that tenders were issued last week for the excavation of a 40,000 cubic metre freshwater retention pond behind the community gardens on Charles Street.
He said that after the tenders close in early February, council will be asked to approve the contract although it may not be ready in time for the next regular meeting on February 14th.
“We may have a discussion about trying to expedite that process because part of this work is to build the retention pond and it is desirable to do that work when the ground is frozen,” Eppell said.
“So, the window of opportunity starts to slip away from us as we go further into the winter.”
Town clerk Donna Beal said a special council meeting could be called to approve the contract if it’s not ready in mid February.
The $5.5 million third phase also includes a 20,000 cubic metre retention pond in the old Sackville quarry as well as ditches and pipes to carry storm water to the Tantramar River near Sackville’s sewage lagoons.
The town is hoping to persuade the provincial department of transportation and infrastructure to install a new, double-gated aboiteau to handle the outflow from the three ponds that will be part of the system.
When combined with the 40,000 cubic metre retention pond that was dug east of Lorne Street and south of St. James during Phase II of the project, the town will have the capacity to store 100,000 cubic metres of freshwater, believed to be enough to handle a downpour from a one-in-one-hundred year storm.
Federal and provincial contributions are paying almost 75% of the total $5.5 million cost of Phase III. The town’s share is $1.5 million.
Eppell says maintenance access roads around the new pond will also double as walking trails.
“This is the same approach as around the existing retention pond.”
For a detailed Warktimes timeline (May 2016 to June 2019) chronicling the first two phases of the Lorne Street project, click here.
Two questions about dogs
Councillor Josh Goguen said he’d been asked by a number of people about the winter use of salt to help clear sidewalks.
“A lot of people in town have dogs and the salt can be hard on their paws,” he said.
Goguen asked if plows could use front-end sweepers to clear sidewalks.
“Or could we switch to a dog-friendly salt formula?”
Town engineer Jon Eppell said it is feasible to use sweepers on the front of sidewalk plows, but that would require two passes.
“So, we’d have to plow or snow blow first and then come along with the sweeper,” he added.
“Sometimes the snow blows back in or melt water comes from the sides of the sidewalk…it would not be a clean, pristine surface and so it would be prone to water and ice build-up and so, from an effectiveness point of view, salt is the way to go,” Eppell said.
“Salt actually is more expensive than using sand, but it is more effective at getting us a clean sidewalk,” he added.
“What we would risk if we switched to just trying to use sweepers, is a much higher cost to continually go back and maintain that, but also the risk of slips and falls for the public.”
Earlier Goguen asked about alternatives to fireworks during Sackville’s Winterfest events February 9-12.
He said he’s not necessarily opposed to fireworks, but dog owners have expressed concerns about their pets.
Recreation director Matt Pryde said he had looked into light shows, instead of fireworks at Fall Fair, but they are much more costly.
“Something around the size of the Fall Fair show would be $25,000 to $30,000 as opposed to $7,999,” he said, adding that a shorter Winterfest light show at Bill Johnstone park could cost somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000.
“These are commercial fireworks that are advertised and promoted ahead of time,” Pryde said.
“I know it’s not the perfect answer, but people do know about them in advance, so they can make arrangements for their dogs.”