First anniversary takes place on Tuesday
TRURO – Rae Dennis will never forget Sept. 10, 2012.
Waters rose well over the banks of the Salmon River under the Walker Street Bridge.
The Park Street resident was busy trying to salvage her home of 49 years with her husband Leonard and the rest of their neighbours as flood waters turned their neighbourhood into a river.
“We were cleaning up after it for quite a while,” Dennis said Monday, while taking a break from baking a chocolate cake. “The water was muddy and left a lot of sediment in the basement.”
More than 100 millimetres of rain fell on Colchester County the night before and throughout the day on Sept. 10 as Hurricane Leslie rolled through, causing dikes along the Salmon and North rivers to breach and leading to significant flooding in Truro. In all, the flood caused about $3.5-million in damages.
It left residents like Dennis scrambling to get their belongings to higher ground.
“We had moved all our stuff upstairs because we would have lost it again,” Dennis said, having learned costly lessons in previous floods. “We kept the sump pump going. We don’t keep much in the basement. You can’t rely on insurance because you just don’t get it anymore.”
But at least Dennis could stay in her home. Other residents nearby were evacuated, along with others on Avon Street in Bible Hill and some on Farnham Road, and were taken to shelters across the county.
Horses also had to be evacuated from the lower barns at Truro Raceway, which were under a few feet of water. Businesses on Robie Street also ended up submerged and the contents of storage containers at Eddy Group in Salmon River were destroyed.
Due to flood conditions and washouts, the only way in and out of town was through McClure’s Mills and Truro Heights roads.
Although many of the residents affected had dealt with flooding before, last year’s event caught most off guard because of its timing. Traditionally spring is flood season in Colchester as ice jams are the usual culprit, backing up rivers and causing them to overflow their banks.
The flood, which was followed by another, less severe one two weeks later, seemed to spark a change in government. At all levels, politicians took a serious stance in wanting to prevent such events from happening again.
Premier Darrell Dexter was in Truro just days later announcing funding to help prevent future events. The provincial government also got right to work repairing the berm, which had given way along the North River behind Molly’s Dairy Bar.
Since then, there has also been extensive work done to the river banks behind the Timbit Soccer Complex on Park Street and next to the Park Street bridge.
Currently, a retention pond is being constructed next to Truro Elementary School, among other projects.
“All of this is going on quietly as people go about their daily business,” Truro Mayor Bill Mills said. “But it’s happening and this is just the beginning.”
More work is scheduled for the future for the dikes along the Salmon River behind Stanfield’s Ltd. and dredging is also in the works to help improve water flow through the rivers.
Mills said he feels the area has become a leader in flood prevention.
“This isn’t just significant for Colchester County, but the work we’re doing here can have benefits province wide.”