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Sussex, N.B., residents frustrated over flooding

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Stephane Gagnon hasn’t slept much in the past two days.

Heavy rains caused the creek in the backyard of his Sussex, N.B., home to overflow, flooding his basement and garage.

“We got, what maybe five hours of sleep in two days? We can’t go to work because I can’t leave the house flooded,” said Gagnon.

Friday was bitterly cold, so the mud on the floor of his garage was frozen.

Many of the items stored inside were covered in ice.

“We got to clean, but right now we can’t clean because everything is frozen stiff. Everything’s outside. We can’t do anything. We have to wait until it thaws,” said Gagnon.

His neighbour’s basement was flooded, too.

Bob Horncastle stands in his basement in Sussex, N.B. (Derek Haggett/CTV News Atlantic)

Bob Horncastle knows the town has submitted a mitigation plan to the federal government in hopes of preventing flooding, but nothing has been done as of yet.

“All I can say is it’s just another flood here on Trout Creek. I guess the town has some answers, but it’s going to take three levels of government to get together in order to repair or fix this problem,” said Horncastle.

John Finnamore and his kids were bringing water-soaked items from their basement to the driveway.

“We’ve been here since 2017 and it’s an ongoing thing. We did have a stretch of two years where we didn’t have water, but twice we’ve had water twice in one year. It’s frustrating for sure,” said Finnamore.

Flood-damaged items are pictured on a driveway in Sussex, N.B. (Derek Haggett/CTV News Atlantic)

He too has heard about flood mitigation plans.

“I don’t know. There’s lots of ideas floating around but they just seem to talk now,” said Finnamore. “I think there’s things that they can do.”

The owners of The Falafel Spot on Main Street didn’t have any damage at the restaurant, but their home was flooded.

“A lot of people have lost a day’s wage. For us, we weren’t able to open because we were managing things at home,” said Alex Boikovitis. “I’m sure that affected a lot of people.”

Boikovitis is convinced it will happen again unless something is done about it.

“And I think people here know it’s going to happen again. More has to be done I think to alleviate that cost to home owners. To invest money in their [sump] pumps and their houses and whatnot. It’s just too much and some people can’t afford that,” said Boikovitis.

Residents are frustrated because they’ve been dealing with floods for years.

In 2014, a devastating flash flood hit the town causing over $10 million in damages.

Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne said there are some homes that are filled with water and a lot of personal items have been destroyed.

He said the emotional toll of someone living through a flood is tremendous.

“That is in my view just as damaging as the loss of physical items. It takes a long time for people to get over that and some people never do,” said Thorne.

Thorne said it’s too early to put a cost on the damages this time around.

“We’ve been down this path before in 2014 and we know that it’s going to be very expensive to get things corrected,” said Thorne. 

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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