Why is the City changing W.W. Ashley District Park?
Properties surrounding the 1st Street/Dufferin Avenue and Taylor Street/Broadway Avenue intersections experience flooding during intense rain events. After two rain flooding events in 2017, City Council directed that something be done to reduce risk of future flooding. The most feasible solution is to construct a dry pond in W.W. Ashley District Park to temporarily hold rain water that will be redirected from the problem intersections.
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. Water in the pond can be expected once or twice a year on average. Water will drain out of the pond within eight hours after a storm, depending on the storm intensity.
What are the soil and groundwater conditions in W.W. Ashley District Park?
A geotechnical investigation including three boreholes to eight meters below the current ground surface was completed in the Park in July, 2019. The ground conditions encountered were silts, clays and some sand of the Stratified Surfical Deposits, typically found in this area of Saskatoon. Groundwater was not found within the boreholes, but there were moist soils within one borehole at the Park's eastern extent. Instrumentation was installed to enable the City to monitor the groundwater levels and enable an efficient dry pond design.
How will W.W. Ashley District Park be impacted?
The sport field area of W.W. Ashley District Park will be constructed into a dry pond with a depth of approximately 4.5 meters (15 feet) with relatively steep slopes. The existing sport field programming at W.W. Ashley District Park will be moved to Aden Bowman Collegiate where the City is reconstructing a full-size sport field for student and community use. After construction is completed at W.W. Ashley District Park, there will be no impact to the paddling pool, accessible playground, skateboard park, Lathey Pool, or J.S. Wood Library.
Will I still be able to use W.W. Ashley District Park for sports and leisure activities?
The City will design the park space to be as usable as possible with an emphasis on maintaining a flat area in the bottom of the dry pond to be used for recreational activities all year round. Other amenities that could be added to the park include walking paths, plantings, and park benches. The City will provide access that is wheelchair accessible so that everyone can use the park space.
When will the sport field programming at W.W. Ashley District Park be moved to Aden Bowman Collegiate?
Regular programming at W.W. Ashley District Park will continue for the 2019 season. Sport field programming will move to Aden Bowman Collegiate beginning in the 2020 season.
Will trees be impacted by the project?
The City will do their best to preserve the trees in W.W. Ashley District Park, but cannot guarantee that the trees will not be impacted. At least one tree is expected to be removed during construction. The City is planning several additional trees around the reconstructed sport field at Aden Bowman Collegiate.
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.
What is the City doing to alleviate parking shortages in the area?
Concerns have been brought forward regarding parking shortages, particularly during sporting events held at W.W. Ashley District Park. Public engagement feedback included both support and strong opposition to changing the existing parallel parking to angle parking on Albert Avenue. The City is working with Aden Bowman Collegiate to add at least 24 parking stalls on their school property to address parking needs for students and other sport field users rather than proceeding with any changes to the parking on Albert Avenue.
When will construction occur?
Reconstruction of the Aden Bowman Collegiate sport field is expected to begin in July 2019 and be completed by September 2019. Construction of the dry pond at W.W. Ashley District Park and the surrounding storm sewer upgrades will begin in spring 2020 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. More detailed information in regards to road closures during construction will be provided in 2020 when the project schedule is known.