Thursday, March 26, 2015

Communities in Bloom discusses storm water and retaining pond area ideas

Toni Lucas

Communities in Bloom (CIB) representative John Hancock appeared as a delegation at the regular meeting of Pincher Creek's Town Council on Monday evening, March 23. He said that he wanted to talk to council about a storm water and retaining pond area that is established close to Walmart. He updated council on what has been done in that area by CIB, and told them of future plans including grants, partnerships with schools, discussions with Ducks Unlimited, and suggestions for areas for parking, fencing, gates and walkways.

He reminded council that Communities in Bloom planted 40 trees in that area last year. He said they would like to continue that project with 100 seedling trees this year. Hancock told council that CIB has applied for two grants for continued development of that area, which is being developed as a wetlands. CIB sees this area as being an educational tool about how wetlands function and biological and ecological processes. Last year CIB tried to involve local schools in projects, and they hope to continue to get local schools involved. To that end, they intend to put up 15 bluebird boxes. "The school hass agreed to make them, and Communities in Bloom have agreed to pay for them," he explained. He that he has noted that there is some barbed wire on the ground in the area, and he wanted permission from council to make it safe for children. He said that he can see this area becoming a walking attraction especially for people staying in the nearby hotels and motels.

"I think that park needs an identity," said Hancock. "I wonder if you could put your heads together and kind of think of a name for the park, or perhaps have a competition in the schools, I don't know..."  He talked about how to make the area more welcoming to people.  He would like to see walkways, a parking area, a bridge, and other amenities to be incorporated.

Hancock said CIB is in contact with Ducks Unlimited, which is a major wetlands conservation group. He admitted that his personal opinion is that the storm ponds work 'very, very well' for storm water. His concern is that as this is close to town and with water running off of streets, roofs, and parking lots he believes "All the heavy metals, toxins, and oils, they need to go through the marsh, first." He made a suggestion that with a few slight changes to the ground-scaping that objective would be more achievable. "I think the wetlands could be really improved if water could flow into the marsh."

Mayor Don Anderberg said "First and foremost, that area there is a storm water management facility, but having said that, it's also a great opportunity to do that in a manner that's natural. That's what we've done there, and it's awesome." He believes that having Ducks Unlimited working with CIB on the area is an excellent move. "There are some great opportunities there for riparian work." He thanked Hancock for his presentation.

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