Tantramar Town Council will be asked to approve allocating an extra $206,050 next week to replace wetlands that will be lost or disturbed in completing the final phase of Sackville’s Lorne Street flood control project.
The money would likely come out of next year’s municipal budget. It would be used to enlist the professional services of Ducks Unlimited Canada in restoring, enhancing or creating 6.34 hectares (15.66 acres) of wetlands to compensate for losses when contractors dig a large stormwater retention pond behind the community gardens on Charles Street later this year.
In background documents prepared for the next council meeting on August 8th, Town Engineer Jon Eppell writes that the provincial environment department will not issue a Watercourse and Wetland Alteration (WAWA) permit for the flood control work until it receives a plan to compensate for wetland losses.
He adds that Ducks Unlimited is willing to undertake the ownership and responsibility for 6.34 hectares of wetland compensation at the standard cost of $32,500 per hectare. That would include the provision of needed lands, development of the project, construction, monitoring and reporting to New Brunswick’s environment department.
The council background documents include a letter from Englobe, the Moncton engineering firm that is overseeing completion of the flood control project.
The letter, signed by project manager Andy Caldwell, says that engaging the professional services of Ducks Unlimited would be much cheaper than if the municipality undertook wetland compensation on its own.
Caldwell also writes that municipal wetland compensation would significantly delay completion of the Lorne Street project while plans were designed and studies conducted.
Meantime, Sackville resident Percy Best, who has been a persistent critic of the flood control project, wonders why engineers at Englobe did not anticipate the costs of wetland compensation.
“The assigned money for the federal-provincial-municipal cost-shared project has presumably all been designated now, so it is like ‘BOING’, guess what, here is an additional bill that Pierre Plourde at Englobe definitely should have informed the town of before the job went to tender,” Best writes in an e-mail to Warktimes.
“If the Ducks Unlimited cost was known before tendering, then the contract to Beale & Inch should have been for a lesser amount so that there would be enough cost-shared funds to cover ALL the bills,” he adds.
“Without it being included, I think 100% of the cost will come directly from the Town’s future budget.”
Update on flood project
Meantime, Beale & Inch construction workers have completed the section of ditch that will drain storm water through a new aboiteau into the Tantramar River.
Earlier, they installed culverts under Crescent Street and are now working on finishing installation of the ones under Sloan Drive.
According to the latest update from the town, tentative plans call for Sloan to re-open sometime next week while the repaving of both Crescent and Sloan will begin on August 14th, the same day that Charles Street will close for installation of culverts to conduct stormwater from the first retention pond south of St. James Street to the one to be dug behind the community gardens.
For an overview of the flood control project, click on the Englobe diagram below to enlarge it.