January 23, 2017 3:20 pm

Sydney, N.S. Southend Community Centre to receive new home

The Southend Community Centre in Sydney, N.S. is pictured in July 2012. On Monday, Jan. 23, 2017 the province announced the centre would see a new home at the former Mira Road Elementary School after the centre was heavily damaged during a Thanksgiving 2016 flood.

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A few months after Cape Breton saw widespread flooding and heavy damage to homes and businesses, a Sydney community centre will soon be able to return to offering services to the municipality.

READ MORE: N.S. government to buy 18 homes damaged in Cape Breton flood

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In October 2016, the Southend Community Centre saw extensive water damage after the Cape Breton region was inundated with heavy winds and more than 200 millimetres of rain during the Thanksgiving weekend – which was associated with the remnants of Hurricane Matthew. Last Wednesday, demolition of the building began.

On Monday, Premier Stephen McNeil announced the centre would see a new home by moving into the former Mira Road Elementary School.

The school is being leased to the Southend Community Development Association for $1, according to a release.

Rick Fraser, the association’s executive director, said in the release it provides a “wonderful opportunity” for the association, allowing it to rebuild the centre which was “left in ruins” during the Thanksgiving floods.

READ MORE: Over 350 homes inspected, 38 deemed ‘uninhabitable’ following Cape Breton flood

“With this new facility, we can now begin the work necessary to open the doors to the public again, redesign services and broaden our scope to the community,” Fraser said.

Mira Road school had been vacant since the last school year, the release said, and had been owned by Cape Breton Regional Municipality before it was reclaimed by the province.

The former Mira Road Elementary School is pictured in September 2015. The school has been vacant since the 2015-16 school year and has been leased to the Southend Community Centre by the province for $1. (Photo by Google Maps)

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READ MORE: Cape Bretoners frustrated with insurance companies as flood cleanup continues

McNeil said in the release he was “delighted” to be able to offer a new location for the centre.

“The loss of the Southend Community Centre was devastating to the groups offering community education and activities there, as well as the many people taking part in those programs,” McNeil said.

Following the flooding, the province provided a helpline to assist homeowners, which as of early December had received 2,700 calls and identified about 4,200 homeowners and 1,800 pets affected.

READ MORE: Cleanup begins in Cape Breton, Atlantic Canada after flooding, torrential rain

The storm saw 17 people have to be rescued from their cars, and following the weather event, 40 streets were closed and 33,000 people in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality were without power.

Disaster Financial Assistance was also set up by the government to help homeowners and as of January the Emergency Management Office had received 857 applications and paid out more than $2.3 million to homeowners.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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