Group working to restore Charlottetown pond to natural state

Dredging is underway at a well-known pond in Charlottetown to improve the health of the ecosystem.

Andrews Pond lowered last year during St. Peters Road construction

John Andrew and Darren Riggs stand on an observation deck on the edge of the pond. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Dredging is underway at a well-known pond in Charlottetown to improve the health of the ecosystem.

Anyone who's driven by Andrews Pond in East Royalty over the past few months has likely done a double-take. The water levels were lowered last year when construction was being done along St. Peters Road. 

John Andrew of the Wright's Creek Watershed Environment Committee, which takes care of the pond, said the group wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to clean it up. 

"It's really important for the natural environment, the fish, there are ducks that hatch their eggs here, there are Canada geese, beavers, all kinds of wildlife, and we don't want to eliminate that by letting the pond just stagnate."

Over the years, silt, litter and debris like fallen trees have gathered at the bottom of the pond, making it shallower. This is particularly true at hotter, drier times of the year.   

A backhoe dredges Andrews Pond in the Charlottetown community of East Royalty last week. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Andrew said while the area might not look great right now, it's all being done with the future health of the pond in mind. Crews have a goal of digging down to make it more than two metres deeper, which will improve water flow.

More pathways, trails in the works 

It's not the first time work like this has been done in the area. The pond has been undergoing rehabilitation work for the last several years, including dredging in 2014 — to restore it to its natural state. 

"The pond has a long history of being a very viable place to fish and that had completely disappeared with all the siltation going on, and what we're hoping to do now is to resurrect that fish habitat," Andrew said.

The dredging isn't the only change people will notice in the area. The watershed group is also working to install a new observation deck at the pond's edge. 

The group is aiming to make the pond more than two metres deeper. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

Andrew said crews will also soon be starting work on a new pedestrian underpass that will allow hikers to cross underneath St. Peters Road, connecting the paths and trails that loop around Andrews Pond to the Wright's Creek Trail on the other side.

The project will cost about $50,000, which is being covered by the city of Charlottetown. The pond and surrounding property was donated to the city by Andrew and his wife in 2019. 

Andrew said people passing the area can expect to see construction continue over the next several weeks, with the goal of completing the work by the end of May. 

Andrew said water levels will be restored to normal when the work is done. 

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With files from Brittany Spencer