One of Cadboro-Gyro Park’s most distinctive – and frustrating – features could be gone for good as the District of Saanich nears its the latest phase of upgrades to the park.
Last year’s emphasis by Saanich was on playground amenities and aesthetic work, but it’s now time to better address the parking lot puddles that can grow to several metres wide and a foot deep after heavy rains.
“We’ll introduce new drainage and underground pipes and an underground pump to move water to a large storm drain that empties on the beach,” said Gary Darrah, manager of park planning and design with Saanich.
“We’re trying to get the work done before the busy summer season, when it’s dry, and we’ll see the new pump and drainage system in effect when the heavy rains come in November.”
However, no matter how successful the next round of upgrades are, the park will continue to flood under certain conditions, Darrah said.
“Is it the final solution to end flooding? Yes and no,” he said. “High tides (king tides) and heavy rain events will likely still cause puddles, but drainage will be much improved.”
The pond-sized puddles often accumulate during high tides because seawater enters the existing main storm water drain outflow on the beach. The outflow pipe drains groundwater from the neighbourhood into the ocean during low tide. The problem is when the drain pipe’s tidal flex valve closes (during a high tide), it not only prevents seawater from coming up the pipe, but also cannot carry the area’s groundwater, Darrah said. During heavy rains, the groundwater has nowhere to go and it backs up out the catch basins and trenches in the park. The glades of the park are too flat to lead the water out to the ocean.
However, the new pump will remove the accumulating water and puddles should be short lived.
It’s no secret Cadboro-Gyro Park is a naturally low lying area, which likely featured a coastal wetland environment before its development. For decades, the park was backfilled with hog fuel, a mix of wood fragments, bark and shredded bits of wood from lumber and paper mills. Over the years, the woods scraps turned into peat. That mix is not ideal for draining, and the earth has compacted and sank, Darrah said.
When the octopus and other park features were refurbished last year, workers had to dig five feet below the earth to uncover the bottom of the legs, he added. Thus it should come as no surprise the District is dealing with drainage issues some 60 years after the park was designated.
“We plan to regrade the parking lot and replace some of the existing gravel, as the parking lot contains some mixed materials which has led to a regular occurrence of potholes,” Darrah said.
Park goers can expect construction until July.