Flood-prone Condon Avenue is getting some much-needed attention.
The street, which runs just south of the baseball field and close to the slopes of a steep gorge in town, has proven to persistently be a problem during rainy weather. This summer alone, it flooded three separate times, with the latest being during post-tropical storm Dorian. The flooding has resulted in property damage and an excess of debris spilling into the road, impeding the flow of traffic.
Work has commenced around Condon Avenue. The intent is to build infrastructure that can handle greater amounts of water to prevent it from overwhelming the drainage infrastructure in place and stop flooding.
“It’s going to be bigger and more robust than what is there right now,” said Sandra Snow, Kentville’s mayor. “What is there has been there since the 40s or 50s.”
Snow stressed that the new work is not to replace any broken infrastructure – it’s an upgrade to functional drainage.
“The pipes are still in perfect shape,” Snow said. “It’s just more water than what our pipes can deal with,” Snow said.
With the topography of Kentville, with its gorges and slopes, and the increasing levels of water flowing through the area during weather events, “there’s a certain point where there’s more water than the capacity (of the pipes),” Snow said.
“We can try and manipulate where all that water goes, but at the end of the day, it goes where it wants to go.”
The new drainage infrastructure will ideally give it somewhere to go that won’t result in flooding.
At their Sept. 30 meeting, members of the Kentville town council awarded a tender to Howard Little Excavating for the $187,450 storm water infrastructure renewal project.
“I want to make sure the money we’re spending is going to fix the problem,” Coun. Craig Gerrard said during a discussion on the matter.
“Is there a way before they start tearing the road up, to have our new engineer look at whatever they’re going to do?”
Gerrard said the infrastructure work is “essentially fixing the middle section,” while there have been storm water-related problems at the ballpark and above the area set for infrastructure upgrades.
“I just don’t want to spend $200,000 of taxpayers’ money to have the same thing happen next year, but we’ve got a new fancy road we’ve got to repair now,” Gerrard said.
Interim chief administrative officer Debra Crowell said the town’s new engineer, who will be officially starting in mid-October, has been sitting in on meetings, and “he has looked at the plans for this particular project … so, yes, this is his recommendation. He has been involved from start to finish.”
The upgrade to Condon’s drainage infrastructure is being subsidized with federal gas tax money.
“The federal government doubled gas tax money this year for all municipalities in Canada,” Snow said in a call with Kings County News. “It comes directly to the municipality and there are no provincial requirements for it.”