‘Constant fear’: Sydney residents worried about possible flooding this weekend
SYDNEY, NS – As soon as Kevin Linden learns that heavy rain is forecast, he panics.
The Sydney resident lives across from Brookland Elementary School and is no stranger to flooding.
He almost lost his entire house in 2016 after the Thanksgiving floods. He had seven and a half feet of water in his basement and was away from his house for six months.
âAll of my neighbors are gone now,â Linden said. âAll of them. In 2016 they lost all of their homes, the province paid them off or whatever.
In the aftermath of the 2016 Thanksgiving flood that destroyed or damaged dozens of homes, the province bought back 18 of them, which were later demolished.
“They didn’t pay me in any way because I only had seven and a half feet (of water), it didn’t go up in my walls or anything, but I mean, seven and a half feet in the basement. I lost $ 90,000 in stuff, “said Linden, who added that all of her photographic equipment was destroyed.
Many of those who remained after the 2016 floods were unable to obtain flood insurance for their homes. Linden is one of them.
âIt’s because we live in a floodplain,â he said. ââ¦ Now the insurance considers (this area) a floodplain. Whoever labeled it like that, I have no idea. But we can’t get any flood insurance anyway.
Linden is not the only one. The Cape Breton Post spoke with Cape Breton Regional Municipality District 6 Coun. Glenn Paruch, who has said many of his constituents cannot get flood insurance for their homes.
âA lot of these people too, since 2016, they can’t get insurance when their basements are flooded, which isâ¦ something that I feel as a city, and I hope the province, can be. join (to be solved), “Paruch said.
“We have to start doing something to protect these people because everyone pays taxes and not everyone has the same level of comfort when it rains.”
Linden now feels as if she is living her life in constant fear of the weather.
“Every time I hear the word rain it’s like oh my God, are we going to be dealing with flooding again?” “
He wants to know what was done with the provincial money that was given to the CBRM following the 2016 floods.
“What are they doing with it? All I saw were two (installed) berms. â¦ The water has nowhere else to flow and accumulate than to descend this Wash Brook. So until the engineers do something and make lakes or something (to) support the weight of the water coming off the highway, we are still going to live in constant fear in our area.
Floods in the forecast
Linden is worried again ahead of expected rain this weekend, made worse by rising temperatures that will cause snowmelt to melt from Wednesday night’s snowstorm.
âWe had about 25 to 35 cm of snow over much of Cape Breton, including (the Cape Breton Regional Municipality),â said Allister Aalders, Weather Specialist for the SaltWire Network. “Widespread rainfall of 20 to 40mm is expected on Saturday evening and Sunday, with locally higher amounts possible due to heavy showers.”
Aalders said there is a high risk of localized flooding, especially in low areas, with so much rain and temperatures soaring after heavy snowfall.
“Island-wide temperatures (are expected) to climb by double digits from Saturday night to Sunday morning,” he said. âIt is very important to make sure that all storm sewers are clear. “
Paruch said he heard from many voters who were concerned about the flooding over the weekend.
âWhenever it rains, there are now flood problems,â Paruch said. “Water, as I say, is lazy so it finds the path of least resistance.”
He has noticed since 2016 that the water in Wash Brook seems to change its path every time it is flooded.
âSo there were people who weren’t affected before, even in the 150mm (of rain) that we had two weeks ago, who are now affected. So everyone is definitely on edge.
He said he had heard concerns even from residents of areas that would generally not be flooded.
âThere are some Harold Street residents who live in the lower Harold area who are worried because they live down there and the water will come down the slope. Lorway Street, Gray Street, Whitney Avenue, Trinity Avenue … pretty much anywhere in District 6 people are definitely on high alert right now.
Paruch said he knew the city was busy cleaning sidewalks, cleaning out sumps and doing what it could to prepare, though he still had concerns for those in District 6.
“It’s not good. It’s not good at all.
Jessica Smith is an environment, climate change and natural resources reporter for the Cape Breton Post. Follow her on Twitter at @CBPost_Jessica.