Saint John — In a press conference this morning, the City of Saint John announced plans for the “Industrial Pond Project,” an enterprise intended to convert the unruly Reversing Falls rapids into a smooth and uninhibited confluence between the Saint John River and the Bay of Fundy.
“The Reversing Falls have always been loud, unsightly and dangerous,” said Mayor Mel Norton to The Manatee‘s reporter. “As an industrial pond, it will have a new life as an agreeable attraction that is both safe and manageable.”
For many years, the Reversing Falls rapids have occurred when the Saint John River empties into the Bay of Fundy through a narrow gorge. An underwater ledge 36 feet below the surface causes a series of whirlpools and rapids as the tide of the bay rises and reverses the flow of the river, reaching their peak at high tide. The Industrial Pond Project will redesign the area in order for it better accommodate these tidal changes.
“First, we will completely level the ground below the surface of the rapids,” said Samuel Reily, a municipal engineer and head of the project. “At this point we will put in place a series of dams and tidal regulators designed to manage the conflicting tides, thus creating a more tranquil and streamlined body of water.”
James K. Irving, owner of the city’s Pulp and Paper Mill, said this conversion couldn’t have come at a better time. “It’s always been a real eyesore,” he said. “I’m very happy that they, unprovoked, are finally making plans to fix such a terrible blemish on the city.”
When asked what he meant by “unprovoked,” Irving had this to say: “Oh, uh, you know, I mean the city came to the decision on its own, so I’m told. I wouldn’t know, of course, since I have nothing to do with it.”
Not everyone is happy with the changes, however. “I bet you wouldn’t even break a leg if you jumped into it,” said concerned citizen Andrew Gamble. “That isn’t going to do me any damn good.”
Construction on for the Industrial Pond Project is set to begin in March, at an estimated cost of $52M over 4 years. The modifications are expected to be completed by early 2018. Human waste dumping is set to commence later that year.