Feds balk at sending equipment to test Oxford sinkhole
They're back to square one in Oxford, N.S.
The equipment expected from the federal government has been put on hold and that could be an issue because the feeling is the sinkhole might not be finished growing.
Lions Club member Bruce Selkirk is trying to save what he can from the advancing sinkhole.
“We're trying to salvage everything we can because there is no insurance,” said Selkirk.
Selkirk also put up the keep out signs that some continue to ignore. People have been caught crossing the barriers and they have been reported to the RCMP, but no charges have yet been laid.
“If you trespass near a sign that says ‘no trespassing’ you can be fined,” Selkirk said. “It's a simple as that; we are through fooling around with them.”
Officials have even gone as far as painting over a cross walk in an attempt to keep people away.
“The purpose of that is to hopefully move people down away from the activity,” said Mike Johnson of the Cumberland County EMO office.
Trespassers aren't the only problem.
The geophysical testing equipment en route to Oxford has been put on hold by the federal government because the sinkhole isn't posing an imminent threat to public safety and then there's a non-compete clause.
Johnson says there is no issue getting a local company to do the testing -- the issue is paying them.
“We're looking at costs starting around $10,000 and going up from there,” said Johnson. “So that's difficult both for the Lions Club here and the municipality to spend that kind of money.”
Without the equipment and specialists from the federal government, Johnson says they’re simply in a holding pattern until they’re able to determine the extent of the underlying cavity.
Provincial geologist Amy Tizzard continues to find new cracks in the forest surrounding the sink hole and in the parking lot. One, marked 101, is nearly 11.5 metres from the edge.
There are other changes that are harder to see, she said.
“We have noticed in the past week that the area behind me where the community gardens are has actually sunk about two centimetres and that is indicative that the sinkhole is not finished here,” Tizzard said.
One thing that has been working in favour of the geologists is the weather,but there is concern over what might happen if the sun goes away and the rain clouds move.
“If we get a significant amount of rain, I have concerns that it will percolate into the cracks around the sink hole and actually speed up its development,” Tizzard said.
Realizing residents may have concerns, an information session is planned for next week.
Geologists will be on hand to answer questions from what seems like a very curious public.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.