No more water, water everywhere in Summerside
Investing in infrastructure -
The yearly mix of heavy rain and melting snow can mean flooding in some Prince Edward Island jurisdictions, but in Summerside, governments have worked together to address a water challenge before it becomes a crisis.
Last year the City of Summerside used the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF) to cost-share projects to extend storm sewers along MacKenzie Drive. They also installed new box culverts on South Drive and Water Street which - if they failed - would cause flooding and major traffic tie-ups on those busy thoroughfares.
The CWWF allows communities to tackle important water and sewer projects with the help of 50 per cent assistance from Ottawa and 25 per cent assistance from the Government of Prince Edward Island. In June 2017, the governments committed to provide more than $29.8 million for 26 water infrastructure projects proposed by communities across the Island.
“The box culvert project was worth about $1.3 million and our whole capital project budget is around $2 million most years. That makes it very hard for us to schedule if the city were paying the whole thing -- you couldn’t really do much else that same summer,” said Aaron MacDonald, Summerside’s director of technical services.
“With the cost sharing, we were able to take on the project at 25 per cent of the cost,” MacDonald said. ”That made the work more manageable and let us do this in a planned way that probably saved money, especially compared to if we had to do this work after a washout or flood situation.”
The CWWF has allowed Summerside, along with other Island municipalities like Tignish, Slemon Park, North Rustico, and Souris make important investments at the time when they can be done efficiently and effectively.
“The CWWF program allows us to pool our resources,” Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy Paula Biggar said. “It allows communities to make investments that will provide reliable water, protect the environment, and install the infrastructure that is needed by our vibrant and growing economy now and for future generations of Islanders.”
A benefit has been improved water flow near South Street at a pond that used to be called “the ice pond," where people went to harvest ice to preserve food back before the days of refrigeration.
“This work will allow us to improve the water flow to the pond and restore access so that fish will be able to get to it,” he said, adding that the Bedeque Bay Environmental Management Association plans to restore the dam for the pond and to install a fish ladder.
“For the city, this was an important investment for stormwater control and protecting important roads from flood damage,” MacDonald said. “And by making these improvements, we’re also able to clear the way for others to do some great environmental restoration work.”