Saint John neighbourhood pulls together as water rises

Click to play video: 'Saint John neighbourhood pulls together as water rises'
Saint John neighbourhood pulls together as water rises
WATCH: As flooding caused road closures in parts of Saint John the Glen Falls neighbourhood, which was particularly hard hit, came together to try and mitigate some of the damage – Jan 25, 2019

Melting snow and ice combined with heavy rains to cause flooding in parts of Saint John Thursday night.

The neighbourhood of Glen Falls was particularly hard hit by the rising water levels, but a group of locals have gotten together to try and mitigate some of the damage.

READ MORE: Flash flooding around Sussex, N.B. forces evacuations

“Everyone kind of sticks together and everyone has been working together since last night helping each other pump basements,” said Dennis Burbridge.

“You got to help each other in times like this here.”

Burbridge and other Glen Falls locals have banded together to form a flood patrol of sorts, trying to keep would-be flood chasers out of their neighbourhood.

Story continues below advertisement

“A lot of the neighbours get together and help block streets and whatnot,” he said.

“You get a lot of gawkers and stuff — people that want to drive through the floods — and what it does is it creates bad waves for the residents and their houses that are already taking on water,” he said.

Elizabeth Floyd has lived on Glen Road since 1996 and says this is the worst flooding she’s ever seen in the area.

Along with the flooded crawl space in her home, her car was stuck in place since Sunday’s storm. When she was finally able to move it on Friday, it was partially filled with water.

“I have a four-foot crawl space under my house and it’s probably filled there,” she said.

Floyd says she won’t be able to leave her area until the waters recede and encourages any gawkers to stay away.

“Respect the barricades,” she said.

“[We all] have water in our basements. Just respect the waters.”
Story continues below advertisement

In parts of the city, abandoned cars sat filling up with water, acting as warning signs to those who would skirt the barricades set up to keep motorists away from flooded areas.

But before tow trucks could come to the rescue, they had to traverse their own flooded streets.

“Just dealing with the water like everyone else, trying to get places,”said Rob McLean, owner of Loyalist City Towing.

“We’re working at getting the cars out of puddles that are in puddles.”

WATCH: New Brunswick highways continue to prove treacherous days after winter storm

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick highways continue to prove treacherous days after winter storm'
New Brunswick highways continue to prove treacherous days after winter storm

McLean says the yard usually spend a couple days a year rescuing cars that have gotten stuck, often donning hip-waders in order to reach the stranded vehicles.

Story continues below advertisement

Michael Hugenholtz, commissioner of transportation and environmental services for Saint John, says the flooding is caused by a variety of factors, the biggest one being the sheer amount of precipitation to fall on the city over the last week.

“We had an extreme amount of rainfall through the day yesterday and throughout the night as well and that combined with the melting snow has resulted in a lot of water,” he said.

“Our systems can only take so much at a time so we’re seeing some backup in a lot of the usual areas.”

Other than Glen Falls, Rothesay Avenue Westmorland Road., McAllister Drive, and Redhead Road have all been affected by flooding.

Hugenholtz says the storm water system is designed to handle “one in five year” type events, but that the system is strained during the winter.

“The ground is frozen so it doesn’t absorb as much of the water and secondly, a lot of our catch-basin systems can get iced up and covered so they’re not taking water,” he said.

“Rain in the winter months is certainly more challenging to deal with than what we’d see in the summer time.”

Hugenholtz says he expects to see the water levels begin to drop after high tide Friday afternoon.


Sponsored content