MLA REPORT, LENORE ZANN
Colchester Weekly News
Premier Darrell Dexter was in Truro on Sept. 28 for a meeting with Colchester County Mayor Bob Taylor, Truro Mayor Bill Mills, Ross Landry, minister of Emergency Management and myself to discuss the flooding problem in Truro-Bible Hill and its surrounding areas.
The premier suggested the development of an action plan to ensure families and business owners do not have their lives disrupted every time there is a heavy rain.
"This flooding problem has been happening for too long," said Dexter. "The people of Truro deserve a more permanent solution to this problem. I toured the Truro area the day after the storm and saw, first-hand, the incredible damage and the impact on people's lives."
On Sept. 10, the day of the flood, Dexter had called me to find out how we were doing in Truro-Bible Hill and the surrounding area. Minister Landry came to Truro that afternoon and provincial EMO co-ordinator Dominic Fewer took us on a tour of the whole affected area. We visited with people who had been evacuated from their homes. The next morning at 7 a.m. I had another call from the premier to say he wanted to visit Truro-Bible Hill to see the damage for himself, right before a 20-hour business trip to China.
At 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, Fewer and I took the premier on a tour of the problem areas including the Park Street bridge, which once again was closed as it always is when our area floods - cutting off Truro's connection to Bible Hill.
I then took him to meet residents of nearby Ford Street who had been flooded out several times over the past number of years. I wanted the premier to be able to put a human face on this disaster instead of simply seeing the devastation from a distance. Looking into someone's eyes and seeing the pain and suffering, as well as hearing the fear and frustration in their voices is an important aspect to this job of representing people properly and understanding fully their situation and how events affect their lives.
As our premier talked with the people in their flooded basements and homes that morning I saw a man with great resolve to do something to help those in need. And it made me feel confident that he meant what he said when he talked about helping the people of Truro-Bible Hill with our flooding problem, which we all know has been going on for years under the watch of many previous governments. Finally we have a government, and a premier, which is actually willing to do something to help us alleviate the problem.
"We need to fix the infrastructure we have now, and look at what new infrastructure we need, to fix this problem for the long-term," said the premier. "That's what will solve this issue for the residents of Truro."
Provincial crews have been hard at work fixing one of the four breaches in the North River berm and hope to have the main breach repaired this week if weather permits. The last two areas to be repaired should soon be complete as well.
The 2012 flood has proven to me and many others that the province will not let people down in time of an emergency and the province and municipal governments here in Truro-Bible Hill work very well together. Dexter and both mayors have now agreed to set up a joint working group to address the issues of flooding, flood infrastructure and the impact of global warming in the Truro area.
We all hope that the federal government will work with us to help mitigate future flooding in Colchester County as well.
The process to get disaster relief funding to residents and business owners who need it has begun. Nearly all the departmental infrastructure damage assessments are in, and officials are now collecting information to apply for federal disaster relief funding. I am expecting more information within the next week or so with regards to disaster relief for individuals.
When trouble occurs in a community, that's often when true leaders come to the forefront. So, I am very pleased to see firsthand that we have a compassionate leader in our premier - someone who actually cares about every single Nova Scotian and is willing to take up the challenge of bringing people and resources together to make the changes necessary to protect and take care of them. Throughout history in times of trouble true leaders emerge. I'd say Darrell Dexter is one of them.
Lenore Zann is the NDP MLA for Truro-Bible Hill