NORTH RIVER – Provincial efforts to repair a flood-damaged berm along the North River began in earnest Monday morning with heavy equipment working to return the river to its natural course.
The berm, constructed by private landowners over several years, was severely breached in three areas between Molly's Dairy Bar and Marshall's corner, on Highway 311, which led to serious flooding to area residents and businesses during recent rain storms.
Although the province initially balked at undertaking repairs to the berm, because it is located on private property, Truro Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann announced on Friday, on behalf of Emergency Management Office Minister Ross Landry, that Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal equipment and crews would be made available to do the work.
On Monday, while speaking to the media at the site, Zann suggested criticism of the government's response would be unfounded.
"The province has been on this from the very beginning," she said. "I'm actually very impressed with the way the province has addressed this whole flooding situation."
Given the widespread flooding that occurred throughout the area, including various streets in Truro, Zann said the province had to have experts assess the situation and work out other details before any repairs could begin.
"So I think the province actually did an amazing job, as did the municipalities, and they worked very, very well together," she said.
The work is expected to take at least several weeks to complete.
- Truro Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann, middle, and other provincial officials met with the media in front of a flooded section of berm alongside the North River, where repair work began on Monday. HARRY SULLIVAN TRURO DAILY NEWS" />
"I would say it is going to take a few weeks. It's hard to tell or predict how long it is going to take because we don't really know the full scope of the job just yet," said transportation department area manager James Webster.
"But we are going to be working continuously until it's completed."
Who will be responsible for long-term maintenance of the berm, after the ongoing "emergency" repairs have been completed, has yet to be determined, Webster said.
A meeting of experts is scheduled for Wednesday in Truro to further discuss the issue, which is to be followed up by a future meeting of elected officials, including Dexter, Zann said.
North River resident Stewart Lynds, however, believes a long-term citizens committee should be formed to come up with a permanent solution to the area's flooding problems.
"I worked on a crusher that sat over here 65 years ago and they were digging the river then," he said. "And they have never stopped. And by putting these great big machines in here are not going to stop it."
Stewart said a five-person committee of non-elected officials should be established to better study the issue.
"This has got to be a committee that's set in place by the people and they'll have a permanent place there," he said.
"That would be my opinion."