Dozens of New Brunswick families continue to live in trailers more than seven months after record-setting floods this spring displaced them from their homes.
Thursday brought bone-chilling weather to Maugerville, N.B., and for Jeff Arthur, whose family was one of those displaced, a harsh reminder of what life has been like since the rising waters destroyed homes and properties throughout the region.
“It’s challenging because you can feel the draft, you sit somewhere you can feel the cold at the back of your head and I got two heaters going and the furnace,” said Jeff Arthur from the living room of his unfinished home.
People’s Alliance (PANB) Leader Kris Austin toured homes still under reconstruction on Thursday to see firsthand, how Maugerville residents are living.
He says the experience has been a real wake-up call given the circumstances.
“You have good folks like this that are literally living in camper trailers trying to renovate houses on their own. So it’s heart-wrenching,” adds Austin.
The PANB leader is lobbying the new provincial government to take a look at flood relief efforts to streamline services if needed.
Lynn Harvey and her husband are rebuilding their farmhouse that’s been in the family for decades until the Saint John River seeped into it, and destroyed most of their belongings.
“I’ve been pretty fortunate in my life. This is kind of the biggest setback I’ve had anyway,” said Harvey, who is now living in a small cottage.
She plans to sell the family home, saying that the heartbreak of the flood has been just too much to handle.
In both cases, emergency funding came through but like most, it didn’t cover all of the losses and without flood insurance, homeowners have been left picking up the bill.
“To get the cheque and say, ‘OK, now what are we going to do?’ This isn’t going to fix it but it’s going to help us so are we going to walk away or do we take a mortgage out?” said Harvey.
Many of the residents in Maugerville remain resilient and optimistic for the future. But they are still planning for when — not if — another flood happens.
Many of the houses along the region’s Route 105 have been jacked up and placed high off the ground.
Arthur and his wife said they hope to be back in their home to host their children just in time for Christmas.
Emergency Measures says it’ll have an update on efforts on Friday morning.