HALIFAX -- A major flood mitigation project in Southern New Brunswick is aiming to protect residents of Darlings Island from the adverse effects of flooding. While some say it’s long overdue, it’s a welcome development for many.

On Friday, residents rejoiced at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which signalled the opening of Darlings Island Road – the only road in and out of the community located near Hampton, N.B. Notorious for flooding, it’s been a hindrance to commuters attempting to leave the island.

"It's long overdue, long overdue,” says Darlings Island resident, Gail Eastwood. “We've been promised it for how many years? Too many years to count."

While it’s been an annoyance for many, it’s especially hard, and sometimes dangerous, for those whose daily lives require them to leave the island.

"Anybody of the younger people that have children in school, they've had to make the choice of keeping their children home and missing the time or trying to ferry them over in a boat – which I wouldn't want to do. Or even worse, there's walking them over," says Darlings Island resident, Catherine White.

The ribbon-cutting signalled the official opening of the redeveloped road and the completion of a major project in the province’s fight against flooding. And community leaders agree that something concrete needed to be done.

"There's about 300 homes, I believe, on the island,” says Hampton MLA, Gary Crossman. “It is an island, and people say they can wait out two weeks, but that's not the right thing to do. People go to school; they go to work, they contribute to society. I don't know why it's taken so long – but it is done."

The work to raise and realign the Darlings Island road started in the summer of 2019 – bringing the height of the road to a new level of around six and a half metres above sea level."

"We do have some challenges here with water levels rising,” says New Brunswick premier, Blaine Higgs. “We're looking at priorities all over the province, and where will we mitigate that."

Meanwhile, residents hope the project will help in securing a future without flooding for Darlings Island.