'It saved us': Saskatoon 'dry' pond system passes heavy rainfall test

Saskatoon's recent rainstorm gave the W.W. Ashley Park dry storm pond system a chance to prove itself.

During the June 20 rainfall event, the pond prevented "water damage to approximately 37 neighbourhood homes that typically experience flooding during intense rainfall,” according to a city news release.

Wade Petrishen has resided in the area for over 35 years and has experienced several floods.

“It was very relieving, we’ve got neighbours here I swear when it rains they look outside their window and they’ve got PTSD,” he said.

Approximately 65 millimetres of rain fell in the Haultain neighbourhood during the afternoon.

Petrishen's home has flooded a couple of times before. According to the city, the June 20 storm was comparable to 2017 which caused Petrishen’s home more than $35,000 in damages.

“It was bad because both of my sons were living there at the time and their bedrooms are in the basement and they were displaced,” he said.

The pond was completed last fall and was designed to handle a one-in-10-year rain event.

The "dry" ponds hold water that could result in flooding during intense rainfall.

The water arrives in the pond via the neighbourhood's storm drain system and slowly drains into the storm sewer. The pond otherwise serves as park space.

“It’s worth celebrating for the city to be able to do that. I think lots of people have said good on the city for that,” Petrishen said.

But while Haulatin residents enjoy the new infrastructure, Ward 7 Coun. Mairin Loewen said it's bittersweet for people living in parts of the city waiting for a pond.

“To see progress being made but the relief is still a couple years away is very stressful and painful," Loewen said during Monday's city council meeting.

Another storm pond will be completed in Churchill Park this year and Weaver Park next year.