Darlings Island homes moved to higher ground as residents prepare for flood season
A huge project is underway in New Brunswick, with some homes being moved to higher ground as residents prepare for flood season.
The New Brunswick government purchased properties in flood zones leading to Darlings Island after last year’s record flooding, forbidding any future development in that area.
“I have mixed feelings I guess. It had to be moved,” said former homeowner Lynn Watters. “The law now, I think, is to keep people from building in places that do flood, and last year was such a big flood, that everybody is nervous that it’s going to be worse here on in.”
The local community centre and former Nauwigewauk Fire hall are also waiting for the big move. Last year they were surrounded by water, and it wasn’t the first time they’ve experienced flooding.
The fire chief says the building needs to be moved, and soon.
“It definitely needs to be looked at right away, before the flood, because it is full of debris and it’s a safety issue, and it's public safety’s hands,” said Nauwigewauk Fire Department Chief Blair Wanamaker. “So they need to deal with it.”
If Darlings Island is once again cut off by floodwaters, there are already plans in place to help local residents.
“During the flood, if it does flood this year, there will be a manned boat to bring people back and forth to their homes,” says New Brunswick PC MLA Gary Crossman. “Not a personal ferry service but a six-passenger boat to help people through the flood time."
“There are still memories down there and in the community centre too. There are memories, and it’s sad to see them go but things change, and we got to change with the times,” said Wannamaker.
The New Brunswick government has currently completed 71 property buy-outs with a total cost of about $7 million.
The Department of Transportation plans to raise the elevation of the road to Darlings Island, to help avoid future flooding.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron