The City of Humboldt continues to prepare for the inevitable summer storm and flooding scenario in its northwest end. Following a storm water assessment conducted by ISL Engineering and a subsequent open house held on May 11, the City is set to proceed with design development of a water retention pond for Carl Schenn Park.

Much like the dry pond currently in place at the Uniplex site, the pond would be designed to mitigate flooding in an intense rain event by holding water until it can be released safely through the existing storm sewer system. The areas that would receive the benefit are the Barnes Cres, Dust Cres, and Thompson Cres areas. 

The modelling assessment undertaken by the City showed a number of vulnerabilities and effective solutions. The engineering firm based its findings on storm intensities over the last 15 years from available Saskatoon data. 

“Over the last couple of decades, we have had some challenges with overland flooding, particularly in the Barnes Crescent area,” acknowledged Peter Bergquist, City Works manager at the June 27 Council meeting. “In general, municipalities are recognizing in mature neighbourhoods that stormwater infrastructure is simply not designed to carry away the storm water as quickly as needed during a heavy rainfall.”

Larger pipes are largely not a solution because of existing underground infrastructure, notes the report presented to Council. Surface drainage along roadways has limited capacity before water spills into home basements in the area. 

Carl Schenn Park provides the opportunity for the development of a dry pond given that its one of the lowest points in the neighbourhood. Water would be able to effectively drain into the dry pond and be retained during a flood event. 

The design for the proposed pond would cost approximately $125,000 and, if executed, the cost of the project itself would come in at around $1.535 million. While Bergquist said other retention pond options had been considered, Public Works recommended the Carl Schenn Park based on cost considerations and effectiveness as demonstrated by the models. 

“The pond would be very well situated to take in those flows and be held for the short term,” Bergquist said. He also cited the recent development of a similarly styled pond in Saskatoon at W.W. Ashley Park which proved effective in mitigating some neighbourhood flooding during an intense downpour on June 20.  

The City is planning on connecting with area residents to consult, with an eye to begin construction in 2023. It also has plans to apply for available grants to offset spending. 

City Council approved the recommendation to proceed with the engineering planning to be undertaken by ISL Engineering. Decisions about the construction itself will be forthcoming following the completion of the design phase.