Cape Breton seawall in urgent need of repair: N.S. gov't
Residents of Gabarus, N.S. are concerned about the crumbling seawall in their community.
Published Friday, July 13, 2012 1:32PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, July 13, 2012 1:36PM ADT
It seems there could be light at the end of the tunnel for a seaside Cape Breton community looking to replace its crumbling seawall.
Six months after being promised municipal funding for repairs, residents of Gabarus, N.S. received a report from the province on plans to fix the structure.
The 70-year-old seawall protects the community of Gabarus from the Atlantic Ocean. The wall has taken a beating in recent years from harsh weather, and residents are worried it will break.
After securing a $100,000 municipal commitment for repairs, the “Friends of Gabarus” community group brought in Nova Scotia government engineers to inspect the decrepit structure.
“They recommend that the worst damaged part of the wall be reinforced at least temporarily before this winter,” says group member Tim Menk. “Hopefully as soon as September.”
Menk says the province seems willing to help with the $600,000 cost, but it’s only a short-term fix. He says the wall needs complete replacement, which won’t happen without federal funding.
There is still a dispute over whether the provincial or federal government owns the seawall.
“We’re not going to let them off the hook. We’re going to keep pounding at them time after time,” says Cape Breton West MLA Alfie MacLeod. “We’ve had excellent cooperation with the Department of Transportation and with DNR, and they’re using their contacts within the federal government to try and move this project along too.”
There was cautious optimism in January when the municipality announced its financial commitment, but only if the other two levels of government kicked in their share.
Menk says he’s much more confident now.
“We feel that it’s a matter of when, not if, the seawall will be repaired or replaced. The question that remains is in the minds and hearts of the people here in Gabarus who’ve seen a lot of promises that may not have been fulfilled,” he tells CTV News.
Menk says he’s done a lot of research that he feels proves the wall to be a federal responsibility.
Gabarus residents are hopeful the seawall will be replaced before the next significant storm.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald