Why is the City changing Churchill Park?
The proposed dry storm pond on the north end of Churchill Park will reduce flood risk in an area with a history of frequent flooding and expected future flooding with climate change.
A feasibility assessment for the Churchill Park dry pond shows that the project is expected to reduce flood risk for 51 properties in a 1-in-10 year rain event for high risk flood areas near the following intersections:
- Ruth Street/Cairns Avenue;
- Bute Street/Munroe Avenue;
- Ruth Street/York Avenue; and
- Bute Street/Albert Avenue.
What is a dry pond?
A dry pond is a storage area that temporarily holds rain water during intense rain events. The water is stored in the pond temporarily before it drains back into the underground pipe system. It is different from a wet pond in that most of the time the dry pond will not hold any water and can be used as park space.
How often will the dry pond have water in it?
The dry pond will be designed to hold the water that would otherwise be flooding streets and nearby properties during intense rain events. This will be confirmed in the detailed design, however water in the pond can likely be expected once or twice a year on average. Water will drain out of the pond within twenty-four hours after a storm, depending on the storm intensity. A layer of sub-drainage will be further evaluated as an additional measure to ensure that drainage meets standards while also considering geotechnical conditions and irrigation benefits.
How will Churchill Park be impacted?
The quality recreation and green infrastructure currently offered in Churchill Park is of high community value to local residents and park users. The dry pond scheduled for construction will be located in the north part of Churchill Park and will directly impact the existing multi-purpose fields. The park's redesign will strive to reconstruct impacted amenities while accommodating the addition of the dry pond, with the large multi-purpose field reconstructed within the pond footprint and the smaller multi-purpose fields relocated to the south of the pond. Construction will also include detailed landscape plans to improve the visual appearance of Churchill Park.
Existing neighbourhood sports field programs using the large multi-purpose field and three smaller practice fields will need to be relocated during 2022 and potentially 2023, depending on the health of the new sod.
What is the Flood Control Strategy?
If you've ever experienced flood damage, you know how devastating it can be. Though parts of Saskatoon have always been susceptible to flooding, and flood protection measures to date have helped, climate change is expected to bring more frequent and intense storms.
In December 2018, City Council approved implementation of the Flood Control Strategy to mitigate flooding in nine areas that experience frequent flooding. The W.W. Ashley Park dry pond was the first project undertaken through this strategy. Churchill Park will be the second.
Learn more about Saskatoon's Flood Control Strategy.
How is the project being funded?
In 2019, the Government of Canada (Government) approved 40% cost sharing of the Flood Control Strategy's total estimated eligible expenses of $54.0 million, up to a maximum of $21.6 million through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund. The City approved Storm Water Utility funding of $32.4 million through previously approved increases to the Storm Water Management Charge to cover the other 60% of the expenses.
The estimated eligible construction expenses for Government funding for the Churchill Park dry pond project specifically is approximately $10 million. The Government would therefore be covering about $4 million of this project.
When will construction occur?
Construction of the dry pond and upgraded storm water and sewer infrastructure is expected to occur from February 2022 to November 2022.
Will trees be impacted by the project?
The dry pond will be designed to maximize the protection of trees in the park. New tree plantings will be included as part of the landscape design plan, which will be finalized following the public engagement events to consider public feedback.
If there are trees that require removal, the Trees on City Property Policy will be followed (i.e., replacement or compensation).
Will there be a fence around the dry pond?
The City will not be installing additional fencing in order to keep the park inviting for use the majority of the time when the dry pond bottom is not holding water. While there will be a safety risk from the water during and immediately following intense rain events, a fence also creates safety risks of falls and entrapment. Fences also detract from aesthetics, can catch debris, and require frequent maintenance. Fences should only be used when their risk reduction and advantages outweigh the additional risks and disadvantages.
Signage will be posted around the dry pond to alert park visitors of the potential safety risks when the dry pond is flooded.
Can bathrooms and parking be added as part of the project?
Bathrooms and additional parking will not be included as part of this project. These amenities are not typically included in a park re-design project.
Can a pathway connecting the Churchill Gardens Condo to the new pond or community garden areas as part of the project?
Additional pathways will be considered as part of the landscape design plan, which will be completed after the public engagement events to consider public feedback.
What impact will occur to the cross-country ski trails and program?
Construction is anticipated to start in late January or early February 2022 in the north half of Churchill Park, where the multi-purpose field is located. This area will not be available for cross-country skiing during construction. Please note the south sections of Churchill Park could still be used for cross-country skiing during the project.
The alley nearby Churchill Park causes frequent dust issues for adjacent properties due to the traffic of park users. Can anything be done to improve dust conditions for the alley?
Dust control in back lanes is not a service provided by the City of Saskatoon. Dust control for the construction project will be executed by the contractor.
The alley nearby Churchill Park has frequent potholes due to traffic from park users. Can anything be done to improve the alley condition?
Each back lane in the city is graded once per year. If the alley has severe rutting, potholes or roughness, residents can call the Customer Care Centre to have the City inspect the lane and coordinate repair if required.