By Mark Squibb
September 22, 2023
Ward 4 Councillor and Public Works chairperson Melissa Hardy gave council a brief update Tuesday on the Town of Conception Bay South’s efforts to figure out what went wrong at the Frog Pond, a treasured gully in Topsail which went dry after water and sewer lines were installed on the street last year.
The update is that as of now there is no update.
This past July, the Town hired engineering firm Stantec to undertake a desktop hydrology assessment of Frog Pond, which is supposed to give Town staff a better understanding of groundwater flow in the area.
“A report will summarize the findings, which will include hydrological characteristics of Frog Pond and the area,” said Hardy. “It will likely be several more weeks before this report is completed, reviewed, and adopted by council.”
She added that Town staff have been in contact with the property owner, and that any findings will be communicated directly to him.
Although a firm deadline wasn’t set as to when the report would be made available to council, Mayor Darrin Bent indicated he had expected the report sooner.
“Nothing ever happens as quickly as we want it,” said the mayor. “Six to eight weeks has now turned into 12 to 14 weeks, but we’ll let the engineers do their work and see what comes of it.”
Property owner Randy Bell also expected to have seen the report by now.
“They hired Stantec about two months ago and I met with Stantec down near the pond, and they wanted to know the history of the pond, and so I told them,” said Bell. “And they called back a few months later with some questions, which I answered. But I’m surprised they haven’t yet come up with something.”
Bell admitted he is disappointed with how slowly things have progressed since residents first raised concerns last fall but allowed “these things move slowly anyhow.”
Bell said he believes council is doing as much as it can in regards to the situation, and doesn’t want to be too critical, adding they’re at the mercy of the engineering firm.
Bell, along with a number of residents along Frog Pond Road, believes the underground stream that fed the pond was destroyed during construction.
“We’ve had a lot of rain the past couple of days, and it’s not even damp down there,” said Bell. “Its as cracked and dry as a desert.”
Bell said he spoke with the Town’s engineering department earlier in the week, and had been told that it will be a number of weeks yet before the report is ready.
He has considered requesting a copy of the report directly from Stantec, but as the engineering firm has been hired by the Town, and not Bell, he doubts he could get a copy of the report ahead of council.
Asked if council, upon receipt of the report, denies responsibility for the situation and offers no remedy, Bell said he would have to talk with a lawyer, though it’s not his intention to sue the council.
“I would talk to a lawyer to get a lawyer’s advice in this situation,” he said.