SACKVILLE, N.B. – Sackville is putting its original plan for flood control in the Lorne Street area back on the shelf for now.
But the consultant who is currently reworking the proposal to bring it within budget says some of the elements now being eliminated from the project still need to be considered by the town as part of a long-term strategy.
“We really need the full concept to be able to manage the stormwater effectively,” said Crandall Engineering consultant Pierre Plourde.
During a presentation at town council’s recent monthly meeting, Plourde brought a new option to the table that he termed as a “short-term approach” that will still manage the floodwaters effectively – but maybe not to the extent the town had hoped.
“It’s going to help until we reach that long-term solution,” he said.
The new, reworked plan comes after town council learned early last month that the bids for the project came in at more than double the projected cost. The bids ranged from $5.9 million to $8.02 million, although only about $2.9 million in municipal, provincial and federal funds has been set aside for the work.
“At that time, we looked at the bid in details and tried to understand what was creating this major discrepancy,” said Plourde.
He speculates contractors were likely concerned over the risks involved in the project and they bid higher to deal with the unknown costs they were facing in trying to build a ditching system on marshland that would allow water to flow from a retention pond to a new aboiteau.
“We need to be able to store some water during big storm events,. When it rains, the water comes too fast at us, we need to be able to put it in big bathtubs to retain the water during the tide cycles.”
– Crandall Engineering consultant Pierre Plourde
So Crandall was asked to go back to the drawing board and return to council with a new plan that would better fit the budget.
Among the major components scrapped from the original plan will be one of the two retention ponds, the new ditching system, and the new double-gated aboiteau.
Instead, the water will now be routed from a new stormwater retention pond in behind St. James Street through existing ditches to culverts under the CN tracks at Crescent Street where it will connect to ditching systems in the marshy fields and sent to the river using provincially-owned aboiteau.
“For now, we’re going to use the existing infrastructure the way it’s being used right now,” said Plourde.
The short-term plan will also see the Sackville Quarry pond being converted for use as a retention pond.
“We know if we can restrict the water that comes at us from that area, we have less to manage down the hill.”
Plourde said having the capability of storing water is an important part of the overall plan as it helps to minimize the flooding impacts in the community.
“We need to be able to store some water during big storm events,” he said. “When it rains, the water comes too fast at us, we need to be able to put it in big bathtubs to retain the water during the tide cycles.”
He said it will be vital for long-term planning as well to consider the addition of another retention pond to help manage the stormwaters during heavy rains and high tides.
Mayor John Higham said the town is attempting to secure more funding from the provincial and federal governments in order to be able to carry out the original plan.
Coun. Bill Evans said he was pleased the consultant was able to come up with a new option that would work in the short-term. But he admitted he’s concerned the town may now be challenged in trying to get more money for the project if this new plan works as anticipated.
“It’ll mitigate the problem in the short term . . . and it’ll be easy to say it’s not that urgent,” said Evans. “But we really haven’t dealt with the problems we’re planning for.”