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Erosion continues to threaten group of Saint John properties
A group of homeowners living along the Bay of Fundy is fighting a battle against erosion, and is calling on the city to do something before it’s too late.
David McAllister, who’s lived on McLaren's Beach his entire life, believes his property has moved at least 12 inches closer to the ocean. He says installing a breakwater on the Fundy shoreline would help slow down or stop the erosion that has already occurred.
"I think it’s been discussed that they would put it 30 to 40 feet below the high tide mark, which is called armour stone, which is 40,000 to 50,000-pound rocks and line the beach for about 300," McAllister says.
McAllister says city staff have told him it would cost around $7 million if built, as the problem extends all the way up to Sand Cove Road. A barrier is keeping traffic away from the lane closest to slope failure.
"They will lose Sand Cove Road which is cut down to one lane now, and all of their water infrastructure, that provides water for all of the houses along Sand Cove Road," says McAllister.
That would also close access to a nearby cemetery, several homes and the popular Irving Nature Park.
Steve Green has lived on Sand Cove Road for 20 years and says the issue has been studied to death. He says when extreme weather hits the area the road seems to move a few more inches.
“Something has to be tried,” says Green. “I don't think we've got another 15 years."
Councillor Blake Armstrong says the city has been installing relief holes along the road.
"They've drilled the holes so water will come up out of the soil, make it a little more solid and flow back into the bay," says Armstrong.
The city is also looking at building a new road, which would be another multi-million dollar fix. Armstrong feels that wouldn’t entirely fix the problem either.
Shoreline erosion has always been an issue for coastal property owners in Atlantic Canada. At one point the graveyard on Sand Cove Road was also at risk.
Thirty-five years ago, heavy rocks were placed on the beach to help alleviate erosion.
"But even then, 35 years later it's starting to erode again. I don't think anybody can beat Mother Nature," says Armstrong.
The commissioner of Transportation and Environment Services is expected to present a report to council within the next few weeks.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.