Greg Martin elected Tantramar deputy mayor; council approves $5 million flood project

Greg Martin speaks of his surprise at his “sudden” election as Tantramar deputy mayor

Ward 5 councillor Greg Martin is the deputy mayor of the new Town of Tantramar.

“I’m very, very proud, excited, many emotions right now,” Martin said after Tantramar council elected him to be Mayor Andrew Black’s deputy.

He said he was “surprised” at the “sudden” decision after he defeated former Dorchester Mayor Debbie Wiggins-Colwell in a 5-4 vote.

“I’ve said this before,” he said, “my mum would be very, very proud. She would say to me, ‘Well done, son.'”

Martin, who represents the former Point de Bute LSD, was supported by Mayor Andrew Black and councillors Michael Tower, Allison Butcher, Josh Goguen and himself while councillors Matt Estabrooks, Bruce Phinney, Barrie Hicks and Wiggins-Colwell voted for her.

The deputy mayor is paid $28,380 — $4,730 more than the $23,650 councillors receive.

Council approves flood control project

Diagram of flood control project showing quarry pond (upper left), existing St. James St. retention pond (centre red), new pond behind community gardens (blue) with ditches, culverts and drains to move the water from pond to pond and out to the Tantramar River near Sackville’s sewage lagoons (click to enlarge)

Meantime, Tantramar Town Council approved a $5 million contract today for the final phase of the Lorne Street flood control project.

It involves constructing another water retention pond behind the community gardens on Charles Street as well as digging ditches and installing pipes and culverts under roads and the CN rail line to carry stormwater to the Tantramar River for discharge at low tide.

Councillor Bruce Phinney

Councillor Bruce Phinney cast the sole vote against awarding the contract.

“If we haven’t got a commitment from the provincial government to change the aboiteau, then I think it’s a waste of money,” Phinney told council.

He was referring to a new, double-gated aboiteau that would drain stormwater from the project’s three ponds into the Tantramar River.

So far, the province hasn’t agreed to install a new aboiteau to replace a much smaller one in the dyke near Sackville’s sewage lagoons.

At an earlier council meeting on Monday, both Town Engineer Jon Eppell and Englobe engineering consultant Pierre Plourde said the project would be viable without a new one.

“It would be desirable to have the aboiteau,” Eppell told reporters later, “but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t.”

Last July, however, Plourde told Sackville council that the project would need to be re-designed without the new aboiteau, but on Monday he said it could still go ahead without it, although he acknowledged that water from the retention ponds would drain more slowly.

Budget shortfall fixed

Meantime, council was told on Monday that a $566 thousand cost overrun would be eliminated partly by scrapping plans for building two pedestrian bridges on walking trails around the new pond and for planting about 25 trees.

The construction company Beale and Inch will also save money by starting the project in June instead of March.

Town Engineer Jon Eppell said the later construction schedule should not interfere with nesting birds.

He assured reporters that the three retention ponds would be able to store enough water to prevent downtown flooding in a one-in-100 year storm.

Acting Treasurer Michael Beal said the 40% federal and 33.33% provincial share of the funding would amount to a little over $4 million with the municipality picking up the remaining 26.67% or a little under $1.5 million.

He said the municipal share of the project is being funded solely by taxpayers in the former town of Sackville.

Now that council has awarded the contract, Eppell said the project should be completed by the end of the year.

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4 Responses to Greg Martin elected Tantramar deputy mayor; council approves $5 million flood project

  1. Percy Best says:

    It would be great to have the ability to effectively drain any excessive storm water out of our town and into the Tantramar River and that is initially what this project was supposed to do.

    Around $10 million dollars will have been spent by the time this current section of the project is complete this fall and the result will be that aboiteau AB-01, which sits at 4.459 meters above sea level, in back of Russell Metals, will now silt fill on the outlet side, which will leave only aboiteau AB-02, in behind ARMTEC, to carry the full load of getting rid of the storm water. This will be as a result of the new unrestricted ditch and culverts system that will tie the two retention ponds together. The new pond will drain backwards towards the existing pond.

    When the new ditch system reaches the dyke behind Russell Metals, it will be approximately one meter deeper (3.515m), than the bottom of the existing wooden aboiteau 18″x18″ AB-01 (4.459m). Without the DTI construction of a new, larger and lower aboiteau through the dyke, (estimated cost is over $1 million) the water will take the course of least resistance and drain from the new pond into the existing pond by St James Street. The storm water will then head towards ARMTEC and out the existing 24″x30″ AB-02 aboiteau which is at an elevation of only 2.57 meters above sea level.

    The fact is that the aboiteau behind ARMTEC is almost two meters, or over six feet LOWER than the aboiteau behind Russell Metals. So without DTI actually agreeing to put in a new, lower structure then this work is basically the construction of a small holding pond, of roughly 27,000 cubic meters even if a new aboiteau is built to allow for full pond drainage, or approximately 17,000 cubic meters if a new aboiteau is NOT built which now seems to be the case. This is because a great deal of storm water that will be retained permanently in the new pond (and ditches) can’t get out.

    Pierre Plourde, the Englobe engineer in charge of this project, had stated before that this new pond would be 40,000 cubic meters capacity. That is not the case. When the Tantramar River siltation takes place within one year at aboiteau AB-01, we are going to end up with only one functioning aboiteau, instead of the two, that we now use.

    We are going backwards folks. It is no wonder they do not want the citizens to see the 37 pages of blueprints.

  2. Wayne Feindel All ways a good idea to know what you Don't says:

    Congratulations to Greg Martin elected Deputy Mayor from outside the two former communities. Nice balance. It would have been nice if Mayor Black called a tied vote before one of these rare times in my experience that a mayor casts a ballot.The custom is to cast a no vote because the Mayor at all times must be seen to be promoting the will of the majority of councillors, all the while protecting the dignity of the minority. This was the perfect time to demonstrate that his role as Chief Justice requires a ballot to be cast that reflects wisdom and experience brought to the Office of the Greater Tantramar Community without directly showing preference for one councillor over another. It is after all, council’s Deputy Mayor. The Pond. The cost overrun will be the same, but hopefully now not more. And of course the contractor will get the normal 20 percent to stay in business. Councillor Phinney true to experience pointed out the obvious. I won’t be here, but an investigation after the once in a hundred storm at high tide will wonder why people who lived so close to the highest tides in the world picked the wrong end. Aboiteau first. Sackville pays. Makes me feel good; but don’t taxpayers have only one pocket? If it were ever thus?

  3. Christine says:

    I hope Mayor Black will talk to his deputy more than he would talk to his predecessor.

  4. Sally Cunliffe says:

    Deputy Mayor Greg…. he is likeable .. he is also very new to the politics around here… that makes him even more likeable as he’s not been brainwashed by technocrats … this must make them very nervous. Ha!

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