As spring approaches, the thought of another devastating flood is stressful for people living along the Saint John River.
“Where am I going to go? What am I going to do when the water comes over my driveway if and when it does?” said Dawn Sharpe, a resident of Maugerville, N.B.
Sharpe was forced out of her riverfront home by 2019’s devastating flood. for two weeks she lived in a friend’s trailer at the Maugerville Community Center. When she was able to return to her home she found it extensively damaged.
“It’s the clean up here, the logs, the trees the stumps the debris that wash in it’s just a massive cleanup,” said Sharpe.
New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) has a program for residents like Sharpe that do not qualify for flood insurance.
“If you do have access to insurance and choose not to get it you are not eligible for disaster financial assistance,” said Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick EMO.
The area has been hit with severe floods twice in 2018 and 2019, and Maugerville is no stranger to high water. After the flood of 1973, David Doak says he had 32 inches of water in his house.
“We had quite a flash flood there, it was on May the 2. I can remember because it was on our anniversary,” said Doak.
After the unprecedented water levels Doak raised his house by five feet and many others in the area followed suit. He plans to evacuate if this year is as bad as the last two floods.
Doak’s neighbor Markus Harvey says the now reoccurring floods has impacted people wanting to buy and build homes in the area.
“We’re losing population but no new people moving in that I know of, just people that are staying and getting their houses moved up and getting ready,” said Harvey.
The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization says the time is now to start moving valuables to higher ground and to begin creating an evacuation plan.
“It’s a good time to also check your 72 hour preparedness kit, everyone needs one you never know what’s going to happen and how long you might not be able to get supplies,” said Downey.
As the snow melts and water levels ride, Sharpe says there is no easy way to prepare for another major flood.
“There’s no doubt about it you’re anxious and you’re fearful dreading the possibilities of your home and everything in it being destroyed or damaged by the floodwaters,” she said.