Cape Breton braces for second dose of rainfall
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 7:39PM ADT
Though the expected heavy rainfall will come as a blessing for many regions of southwest Nova Scotia, in Cape Breton, it’s more like a nightmare.
The forecasted 60 to 80 millimetres is nothing compared to the record 220 that destroyed homes and infrastructure on Thanksgiving Day. But for people whose basements are already flooded, it's the last thing they need.
“It wouldn't be too good for a lot of people. They've already suffered enough as it is," said Sydney homeowner Grant McCharles.
Cleaning crews working on the badly damaged south end community centre say it could mean more work for companies like theirs.
"Since the ground is already wet and saturated, it could be a big problem for basements," said cleaning company employee Shawn Abdi.
It will also be weeks before the congregation will be able to have mass at some of the churches with sewage water remaining on the first floor.
“Apparently there's hundreds of thousands of dollars to the church,” said parishioner Owen Fitzgerald. “I don't think there's oil, but I don't think anybody has determined that yet.”
The city is assessing storm damage to Sydney's Susan McEachern Memorial Ball Field, which underwent a $750,000 upgrade with the addition of artificial turf, new dugouts and a drainage system.
“They were looking at the turf and figure out if that is in good shape now. There's definitely ground issues there. It's going to take a significant effort to repair it,” said Christina Lamey of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Outside of Sydney, the damage is widespread. The Department of Transportation says more than 200 roads and bridges need repair.
“In total, we are probably looking at throughout the eastern district, which is Antigonish eastward, four to five million dollar rage,” said Roy MacDonald of the transportation department.
The Department of Transportation is now working on larger infrastructure challenges.
“One particular culvert in Marion Bridge, that's going to take some time. It will be closed for probably a month or so,” said MacDonald.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality says its crews will have all hands on deck this weekend.
"Everybody needs to prepare in their own different ways,” said Lamey. “I know right now the city has combo machines that are out cleaning catch basins. The repairs to existing infrastructure that were damaged in the last storm are being worked on."
If the worst does happen this weekend, many are wondering whether infrastructure that was most damaged in the last storm will be able to handle it.
Homeowners say they'll be more ready this time.
"I have a sump pump and it should be able to control that amount of precipitation," said McCharles.
The municipality is confident enough repairs have been made to weather this weekend's storm. As for homes most badly damaged, people are still urged to take precautions.
"Even around your own home, clean out your gutters (and) any ditching around your house that may be filled with leaves," said Lamey.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald and Kyle Moore.
A vehicle is submerged in a residential area of Sydney, N.S., Tuesday, Oct.11, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Vaughan Merchant)