Residents of Sydney ‘flood zone’ hold community meeting
It was a full house for Saturday’s meeting at Centre 200, as residents of Sydney’s ‘flood zone’ had their first chance to share their opinions on a $100,000 report that aims to help mitigate the area’s ongoing flooding problems.
"I work like a dog to save my house so I didn't have to put in another insurance claim," said resident Jackie McNeil. "I sat in my bathroom with a ShopVac going out the window, trying to stop my basement from flooding, I need something done,"
Filled with emotion and worry, residents of the so called 'flood zone' area of Sydney expressed concerns with the rising water levels in their neighbourhood nearly every time the area receives more than 50 millimetres of rain.
Saturday's meeting with officials at Centre 200 was well attended and follow a report done by an engineering firm that says it will cost nearly $25 million to make repairs and improvements to mitigate flooding along the brook.
"Those things are reducing the peak flow, so during a storm as they become more intense, you get higher flows," says engineer Richard Morykot. "So what we're trying to do is hold back water in the upper reaches of the water shed in the lakes that are there to reduce the peak flows."
Morykot admits no amount of engineering work is going to completely fix the problem, leaving residents asking if officials will be looking at another solution.
"I'm not an engineer, but I know that somebody has to stop and get rid of the bloody water all together," says resident Don Morrison. "Put a lift station in and pump it down into the harbour or find some other way. This is not the way to go."
In October of 2016, more than 200 mm of rain fell in the Sydney area, destroying and flooding hundreds of homes. There have been continued flooding problems in the neighbourhood ever since.
Resident Neeta Kumar-Britten says it's not good for business either.
"Nobody wants to live in an area that looks like a war zone, and nobody wants to come to an area that looks like a war zone. So we have to think about making this not only function again, but pretty," says Kumar-Britten.
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality says they can't afford the repairs alone, and have asked the provincial and federal governments to assist with funding.
"We have the documentation, so I have been briefed on it this week and I'm going to try and move as quickly as possible," says Derek Mombourquette, Nova Scotia's Municipal Affairs Minister.
While residents feel time is not on their side, some suggested immediate work to mitigate the problem.
"When these rains happen I walk the brook. There's barbeques, doors, wheelchairs; there's a seven foot post blocking the Whitney Avenue culvert," says resident Gordie Ryhmes.
Work that area residents hope will be done soon to help with their concerns. In the meantime, the municipality is putting together a funding proposal that will be submitted next week.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore.