A big bang startled residents in a Glace Bay, N.S., neighbourhood this weekend after a large section of land along the shoreline collapsed into the ocean.

“We heard a big bang and this was the result,” says resident Gary McNeil. “It’s terrifying I guess, especially if there’s kids here playing or walking and then there you go, you’re down on the ground.”

Residents say over time the bottom part of the cliff eroded and the recent heavy rains caused the land to give-way.

Joe Devison, 83, has lived in Glace Bay his whole life and says he’s never witnessed anything like it.

“Oh my God, it’s quite a piece of cliff to go at one time,” says Devison.

Cape Breton councilor Darren Bruckswaigher says erosion is a problem happening across the island and it’s too costly for the municipality to fix itself.

“What you see here today is a significant piece of land that fell in. That's probably the biggest chunk I’ve ever seen in my time in council,” says Bruckswaigher. “There's nobody really to take ownership. It's just happening everywhere and the cost associated with trying to fix something like that would be out of the range of the municipality.”

A nearby road has been closed for more than 15 years after it eroded away. The problem was fixed with armoured stone. Residents are hoping it can be erectedalong the shoreline before they lose their homes.

In addition, localswould like signs posted warning people of getting tooclose. The municipality says they will monitor the situation over the coming days to make sure the erosion doesn’t get worse.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.