Members of the St. John’s soccer community are breathing a collective sigh of relief today after Hurricane Igor washed over King George V Park without causing any damage.
That’s in contrast to the fall of 2008, when a massive rain storm dropping well more than 100 millimetres of rain on St. John’s. That caused nearby Rennie’s River and Quidi Vidi Lake to overflow and to essentially wash away the facility’s new million-dollar artificial surface.
As a result, the City of St. John’s made improvements to flooding control in the area in 2009, including installation of a berm between the river and soccer facility, and the FieldTurf was replaced this spring.
Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association president Doug Redmond, who made his last trip to King George V around 7 p.m. Tuesday, said while there was a lot water rushing from Rennie’s River to Quidi Vidi. none of it made it to the field.
“There was some water on the mini-pitch, but the main pitch was perfect.
“King George should have games (tonight),” Redmond predicted.
The news wasn’t so positive in Goulds, where St. John’s Racing and Entertainment manager Brett Whelan says close to five feet of water from nearby Third Pond flooded the horse racing track.
“The pond is overflowing and (water) is coming back onto the tracks. From Lakeview Drive right across to the pond, it’s all the same level,” said Whelan.
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The water never made it to the SJRE offices or barn, which had been cleared of horses Monday as a precaution.
Whelan says “the water level has never been higher,” and he isn’t sure what to expect in Igor’s wake today.
“If the track is washed out, we’ll have to get equipment in to resurface it,” he said.
“Once the water recedes, we’ll be able to see what it looks like and figure out what we’re dealing with.”
There have been previous incidents of flooding at the facility over the years, but Whelan said they never were as serious as what was experienced Tuesday.
That said, he’s optimistic about meeting Sunday’s scheduled 2 p.m. post time.
“The track can get wet, it’s just whether there’s any washouts. If it’s not that bad, we could be racing (today).”
In the centre of St. John’s, St. Pat’s Ball Park experienced some minor flooding in the outfield, but by late Tuesday afternoon, it didn’t appear to be any danger.
As of Tuesday evening, the only damage at the diamond was torn protective netting behind the backstop.