Local resident Curtis Hallborg brought a concern to city council on Monday night about the amount of snow accumulating behind properties on Hodges Crescent in the West Park subdivision.

However, city council voted unanimously to leave the situation as it is for now and have city administration continue to monitor the drainage system as the snow begins to melt.

About seven to eight feet of snow over 700 metres has accumulated in a drainage swale in the area.

The area of concern has a 16-metre berm and a six-metre drainage swale. The berm and swale drain from north to south into Spring Creek through overland drainage and a catch basin connected to five-foot diameter stormwater pipes.

Hallborg’s concern is that usually, flooding isn’t an issue, but 2022 hasn’t been a usual year. About 18 properties are affected and there are fears of flooding and prolonged standing water in yards.

“Our backyards are nearly full with six-plus feet of snow.It’s quite compact so that snow represents about two to three feet of water,” Hallborg said.

While drainage concerns come up every year for the city, the city’s administration says it is typically due to smaller stormwater pipes that become blocked with ice. Meanwhile, West Park has a larger storm network, combined with a below-normal spring runoff forecast it won’t overwhelm the system.

Director of Public Works and Utilities Darrin Stephanson said city crews were out last week to clear off the catch basin in West Park. He noted that it took most of the day to clear about 40 metres of snow.

[PHOTO GALLERY] Local resident raises drainage concerns in West Park - DiscoverMooseJaw.com

“We're not operating on a paved street here, where we have known risks,” Stephanson noted.

“We're out in a field. There are various utilities and pieces of infrastructure and potential private infrastructure there as well that we wouldn't know where they are. So consequently, when we did perform this work last week, we did damage a couple of pieces of infrastructure just trying to get those 40 metres opened up to open up the catch basin.”

Coun. Jamey Logan said, at first glance, he thought this would be an easy fix. Upon further review, he agreed with Stephanson that there are too many risks of snow blowing the swale.

“I saw the damaged pedestal that we mistakenly hit already, and I've seen a trampoline and the snow out back and I’ve seen the top of a play structure of some sorts. It looks to be a wooden swing set,” Logan said.

“Those are things I could see. So, who knows what else is down there? The simple ‘snowblower down the middle of the swale’ certainly is not that simple.”

He added that this is a warning as to why the city asks people to not have objects encroaching on to city property.

“Down the street from my house, there was a gentleman who had some things out back in the city, said ‘hey, you can't do that,’ and he's mad. This is why we tell you, you can't do things like that is so, in an emergency or in a situation like this, if we need to come down that drainage ditch with a snowblower we can do that effectively and not snow blow your trampoline and your trees and the structures that you've put outside your property,” Logan said.

Coun. Heather Eby agreed that the best solution for this winter is for city administration to continue to monitor the situation and react as needed.

“We'll mitigate that as best we can if a problem happens. I do think the forecast is our best friend at this point,” Eby said.

A medium-term solution to avoid large accumulations of snow in the future would be to plant rows of trees or hedges on the berth to act as a snow fence. The Department of Public Works and Utilities has worked with the Department of Parks and Recreation and it is believed it is a possibility in the next few years.