City hall plans to apply for federal funding to support a construction project that would upgrade the storm sewer system near Sunningdale Creek — and potentially eliminate the flooding of basements.
During its Sept. 26 regular meeting, city council voted unanimously to support the engineering department’s application for funding through the Natural Infrastructure Fund (NIF) for the Sunningdale Creek Hydraulic Capital project.
The deadline to apply is Sept. 27.
Furthermore, council agreed that the City of Moose Jaw would meet federally legislated standards, meet the terms and conditions of the NIF program, conduct an open tendering process, manage the construction project, fund the project’s municipal share, fund ongoing operation and maintenance costs, and follow any environmental mitigation measures required under federal or provincial acts.
The original cost to upgrade three sites near the creek was $460,000. However, city administration now believes the real expense will be $750,000; the federal government could fund 80 per cent of that through the grant.
If Ottawa provides no funding, the engineering department has money in the 2022 budget to cover the project.
City hall is planning to restore the designed capacity of Sunningdale Creek by installing new culverts and naturalizing the bank along Thatcher Drive, a council report explained. The work focuses on three in-channel crossings and will reduce the hydraulic grade line during major rainstorms.
The municipality hired consulting firm ISL Engineering and Land Services in 2021 to manage the work, while it issued a tender in early September 2022 so contractors could complete the work this year. The tender closes Sept. 29, while the city could begin the work this fall pending federal and provincial regulatory approval.
If city hall doesn’t start this fall, it will be next spring.
The report added that the engineering department has set aside $725,000 for storm sewer work this year. Of that, $500,000 is from last year and $225,000 is from this year’s capital budget.
City hall's view
Making these improvements to the channel will significantly improve the drainage and potentially solve many problems with basement flooding in the Sunningdale area, Bevan Harlton, director of engineering, told council.
“It will lower the hydraulic grade line, which is a fancy word for how high the water comes by (a) metre or more, so that’s significant impact to the channel,” he remarked.
Grant funding background
The federal government announced in 2021 that it would set aside $200 million to create the Natural Infrastructure Fund to support natural and hybrid infrastructure projects across Canada, explained the council report. The fund includes revenue streams for projects large and small; city hall plans to pursue funding via the latter category.
Projects may be funded through grant agreements if the total eligible costs are between $30,000 and $250,000. The maximum contribution will be $250,000.
Projects may also be funded through contribution agreements if total eligible costs are between $250,000 and $3 million. Projects funded through this stream will receive a maximum contribution of $1 million.
Projects that incurred expenses between May 1, 2021 and Dec. 31, 2024 would be eligible for either stream, the report added.
The next regular council meeting is Monday, Oct. 11.