PEI

Swale controls flooding, adds natural area to Charlottetown park

Charlottetown Coun. Terry MacLeod is hopeful the city may finally have a solution to the problem that first got him involved in city politics 20 years ago.

‘Ducks would live there’

Native trees and shrubs planted around the swale will prevent erosion and create a natural area in the park. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Charlottetown Coun. Terry MacLeod is hopeful the city may finally have a solution to the problem that first got him involved in city politics 20 years ago.

At the time, MacLeod was concerned about J. Frank MacAulay Park in Charlottetown. It would flood regularly in heavy rain.

"This is a natural area for the water to flow to, so what happens is water comes into this park in about five or six ways," he told Island Morning host Laura Chapin.

"In years past, way back, ducks would live there. It would get that wet."

People would sometimes turn over bridges in the park and use them as boats, said MacLeod. There was so much water he was concerned someone might drown.

A new natural area

Last year the city began work on a swale for the park.

It's a large ditch, with bulky stones lining the bottom and grass up the sides to prevent erosion. The swale serves two purposes. It gives the water a place to go, reducing flooding in other parts of the park, and rocks slow the flow of water down. Silt and sediment from the streets will settle out in the swale, reducing the load of silt that makes it into the Hillsborough River.

Coun. Terry MacLeod stands in the swale that he hopes will be the final solution to flooding in J. Frank MacAulay Park (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

The park has multiple uses, with playgrounds, sports fields, community gardens. The swale adds one more, said city forest and environmental officer Jessika Corkum-Gorrill.

"Having the swale and this natural feature I think is a really neat element to add into this landscape," said Corkum-Gorrill.

"On either side of the bank we planted native trees and shrubs, and those, again, will root the ground in place so there isn't a lot of erosion, but also add biodiversity to the park, add habitat for animals and just add general beauty."

Corkum-Gorrill said the park has seen a few heavy rains since the swale was completed, and it is working well.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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