6:10pm Friday 19th December 2008
LEISURE chiefs have given the green light for York to get its very own Noah’s Ark – by building a flood prevention system in one of its largest historic parks.
A City of York Council leisure committee has recommended plans to build a new bowls pavilion on Rowntree Park which will rise up and float during heavy rain.
The current pavilion – known as the Ark In The Park – dates back to the 1970s, but is now prone to flooding and considered unsuitable for use as an educational base.
The new pavilion, at an estimated cost of around £330,000, will incorporate a community space, classroom, changing rooms and office, which will rise up and float when the park floods, protecting its contents. Coun Christian Vassie welcomed the news. “It is clear that regular flooding at Rowntree Park damages not only the park, but also its buildings,” he said.
“The idea of constructing a building that rises with the water when flooding occurs then settles back down as the waters recede is a good one. I understand similar buildings exist in the Netherlands.”
A series of vertical piles will keep the building in place, preventing it from drifting away. Officers are also looking into acquiring better pumps and installing a sluice gate in a nearby flood wall to allow water to drain away quicker.
“With climate change, we can expect more flooding events per year in the future,” said Coun Vassie. “I suggest we look to use the power of the river itself to put itself back where it belongs. A pump powered by a water turbine or a water source heat pump placed in the river itself would create an environmentally sustainable and, over a few years, cost effective solution to the problem. It would mean that the park could be cleared of flood water in days instead of weeks.”
Meanwhile, the panel has agreed to look at how other local authority’s deal with mess left by geese, after a number of complaints about the area surrounding the lake in Rowntree Park.
“Culling the geese is not a practical solution,” said Coun Vassie. “I do support plans to test repellents. I understand they cause no harm, but that the geese will avoid grazing on treated lawns because they dislike the taste.
“It is worth exploring everything we can do to create areas where residents can feel confident about making full use of the lawn in this wonderful park.”