Some Sydney, N.S. area residents say flooding from storm could have been prevented
The Sydney, N.S. area was hit hard with heavy rain and flooding conditions after a slow-moving weather system passed across Atlantic Canada.
Chelsea O'Neil lives in Sydney. She says Tuesday night was filled with fear as water flowed into her basement and levels continued to rise.
"I went to sleep at 9 p.m. when I put my daughter to bed and my husband woke me up at 11:30 p.m. and said, 'You have to come down stairs. Our basement is flooding,'" said O'Neil. "So, that is how I woke up and then we had an alarm set every hour through the night until 6 o'clock this morning."
It was a similar scene of flooding conditions throughout the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
Heavy rain caused havoc for many – especially those in the so-called flood zone area of Sydney.
"The creek filled up more than usual. There was nothing holding it up, up stream, so it filled in through the back and water started coming in through my basement," said Sydney resident Terry Drohan.
Gary Leblanc, owner of First General Services in Glace Bay, N.S., says he's seeing anywhere from two inches of water to three feet in some basements.
He says his phone hasn't stopped ringing since last night.
"It's very difficult to keep up because right now, we're dealing with trying to prioritize what we have to do," said Leblanc. "We have to get water out of people's basements first and foremost."
CBRM Mayor Amanda McDougall says public works crews have been trying to keep catch basins clear and water levels low, but it's impossible to keep up.
Some residents say the lack of action by the municipality following the devastating floods in 2016, has led to flooding that they say could have been prevented.
"This is something we're going to have to continue to work on moving forward. I'm talking with my Federation of Canadian Municipality colleagues today and we're talking about nature based approaches to flood mitigation," said McDougall.
However, Drohan says the CBRM already has the tools and money in place to improve the problem now.
"Money is in the account waiting to be spent. The contractors have the equipment ready to start going ahead with berms and that's going to have the most significant impact on mitigating the flooding here," said Drohan.