Study says some areas in Oxford, N.S., face high risk of developing additional sinkholes
A report published Thursday has confirmed that the Lions Parkland property is unstable due to the risk of additional sinkholes forming in the future.
Technical professional services firm GDH Limited released the report after a major sinkhole developing over time at the Oxford, N.S., property prompted the Town of Oxford to conduct geophysical and technical testing in the area.
“It’s deemed unstable enough to restrict it from public access,” said Rachel Jones, CAO of the town of Oxford.
Lions Club looking for alternate location
The Lions Club, which provides services for those in need, has also stated the property will be permanently off limits for public use.
“It’s a huge impact for the Lions Club. They’ve offered a lot of services and programs out of this property so they’re determining their next steps,” said Jones.
“We as the town are quite willing to come to the table and collaborate and partner with them and try to find solutions to move forward but that’s yet to be determined.”
WATCH: Nova Scotia sinkhole still growing, poses risk to community
The president of the Lions Club, Robert Moores, said the club has made the decision to find an alternate location and is already looking for a new building.
“It was a perfect location. We had built a great park for the children; the lake was there for them to swim in,” said Moores. “We’re not going to find anything that optimal in all likelihood but we are looking for some kind of a location where we can provide services like the park.”
Town of Oxford to monitor areas susceptible to developing sinkholes
According to the Town of Oxford, the sinkhole was first noticed on the evening of August 19, 2018, and continued to grow in size.
The sinkhole is currently measured at approximately 30 metres wide by 40 metres long, according to Jones. The property is fenced and signage posted to prohibit public access.
The Oxford Sinkhole Investigation report also shows that the ground where the sinkhole is developing is unstable in a variety of areas covering the general vicinity of Main Street and other local businesses.
“It’s something we need to be concerned about or at least aware of for our public infrastructure and public safety so we will be looking at what a monitoring program will look like,” Jones said, adding that aerial footage or benchmark surveying could be used to monitor any developments taking place in the area.
The geology of the area includes gypsum and salt deposits that extend to the west and south of the town, with the majority of the town of Oxford situated on a different type of bedrock.
This means that the Lions Club on Main Street stands upon a stretch of bedrock susceptible to the development of sinkholes, which extends through the transatlantic highway at Exit 6 — “a gateway between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.”
“If Exit 6 is compromised then that’s a significant challenge and issue for Oxford,” added Jones.
She said everybody needs to be aware of the issue, but doesn’t think anything is going to be catastrophic.
“Mother Nature is Mother Nature — we can’t really anticipate that. I think we are OK in the short term,” Jones said.
She added that more explanations will be provided to the public about the sinkhole and the findings of the report in a public meeting, but the date for it has not yet been determined.
GHD Limited has conducted three types of testing, and according to Jones, the study cost about $100,000.
She said the funding was split between the province of Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
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