The town of Sussex has seen more than its share of flooding in recent years, and now the community is fighting back by building a $1.2-million berm in the downtown commercial district that they are hoping will help keep waters at bay.

“A lot of work to do yet, but I think we’re progressing well and I think we’re well on our way to having this completed before Christmas,” says Scott Hatcher, CAO of the town of Sussex.

The berm is being built along the Kennebecasis River behind the Gateway Mall to keep future floodwaters at bay.

It’s now five years since the 2014 flood, which caused $1.4-million in damage to town owned infrastructure, about $700,000 of which wasn’t covered by insurance.

The commercial district in Sussex’s West End was one of the areas that was hit especially hard.

“We would be a foot underwater, a lot of water, and huge amounts of damage to properties, individual property owners here were protecting their properties by whatever means possible,” says Hatcher.

This past January, the town was once again faced with flooding, an issue that Chamber of Commerce President Paul Bedford knows all too well.

“Since 2014 it’s been a project,” says Bedford. “We’ve lifted our home, filled in the basement, put any backflow preventer that we could, filled any gaps, made sure everything is sealed and we’ve gone forward from there.”

Bedford says he is in favour of the berm being built in the commercial district, but he also has some concerns and questions.

“When you build up walls or bottleneck water, it has to rise somewhere, and unfortunately this subdivision is upstream. So does that mean that our water levels in the next flood are going to be higher than before?” asks Bedford.

Hatcher says this is the first step in what the town is hoping is a long-term solution to flooding for the residents.

The $1.2-million project is receiving $600,000 from the Federal government, with the town footing the rest of the bill.

It’s hoped that the project will be finished by early December, and will provide some long-term relief for the ongoing flooding.