Repairs and improvements to stormwater detention infrastructure at the new North Lake Square shopping center on Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville have not stopped silt runoff from making its way into a Lake Lanier cove, according to residents in the area.
“As the weeks go by, more and more problems surface with the project’s original design, its implementation, the inspection and reporting process, and now even the repair process,” Lakeshore Heights resident Pat Horgan wrote in a recent email to city officials.
City crews have spent weeks monitoring the site since residents first noticed silt discharges from a detention pond located at the shopping center in mid-December.
Myron Bennett, engineering and construction division manager in the Gainesville Department of Water Resources, told The Times last month that the contractor made necessary repairs to keep in compliance with city stormwater regulations.
This included placing straw and hay bales on mud and in front of storm drains, and repairing silt fencing and filter cloths over pond drains.
In a Jan. 28 email to residents, Jarrett Nash, project and construction services section chief, wrote that additional work was continuing at two detention pond sites.
“Concentrated flow is leaving the roadway and needs to be conveyed more effectively to the inlet structure next to Ahaluna Drive,” Nash said. “The design professional will provide a design for this improvement. Additional silt-fence check dams have been installed as an interim measure to reduce flow velocities in this area.”
Developer Tim Knight of Knight Commercial Real Estate in Duluth did not respond to requests for comment.
Resident Michael Proulx believes the damage may already be done and is calling for additional monitoring and fixes, including more frequent testing of water samples.
“The city continues to monitor this site and coordinate multiple times a week with the parties responsible for the erosion control measures and best management practices to make improvements and upgrades as needed that serve to minimize sediment leaving the site,” City Manager Brian Lackey said this week.
Proulx and other residents said they will continue to meet with city officials, place calls to other agencies operating on the lake, review reports and logs, and follow up daily with emails and pictures to lawmakers, environmental organizations and other groups.
It’s not just the damage to the lake they are worried about, Proulx said, but the potential cost of having to dredge the cove themselves.
“The implication is that this cat-and-mouse strategy ... could go on until construction is completed,” Proulx wrote in an email shared with The Times. “We feel that cannot be correct.”