Residents say ongoing flooding on Shubenacadie, N.S. road is preventable

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Residents say significant flooding on Shubenacadie, N.S. road is preventable
WATCH: This weekend’s rain led to significant flooding on Mill Village Road in Shubenacadie, N.S. The road was temporarily blocked with vehicles being detoured around the area. But residents who live on the road say this is happening too often despite it being preventable. Alicia Draus reports – Jan 15, 2023

Neighbours Shelby Wiswell and Trish Fulton say they’re fed up with the flooding of Mill Village Road in Shubenacadie, N.S..

“It’s happening more often, it happened about a month ago and in the spring and last winter,” said Fulton.

With Saturday’s heavy rainfall it happened again, prompting closure and setting up a detour.

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“We had all that rain and at about 9:30 am it started to slowly flood, and within an hour it was completely flooded, you couldn’t get through the road,” said Fulton.

Mill Village Road flooded during heavy rainfall on Saturday January 14, 2023. Trish Fulton

Wiswell says she left home for a day surgery just as it was starting to flood. When she returned after 9 pm, she had to walk through the flood just to get home.

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“It’s very concerning,” said Wiswell.

Across the road is Jodrey & Company Accounting. Owner Michael Jodrey came by Saturday to make sure their sump pump was working.

“It’s an inconvenience,” said Jodrey, who had to invest in a generator to ensure their sump pump can continue to run even if there is a power outage the same time as flooding.

Area designated as high-risk floodplain

In 2016 the Municipality of East Hants rezoned the residential area as a high-risk floodplain due to it’s proximity to the Shubenacadie River. Residents and business owners are aware of that risk, but say the recent flooding that’s been happening is unrelated and that it’s preventable.

“This was not from the river it was from all the water that drains through the village of Shubenacadie down to this low-lying area, these culverts are supposed to carry it away and if the culverts are blocked it’s not going to happen,” said Jodrey.

“There is a culvert that is collapsing,” said Fulton. “They did a band aid fix in the spring and it seems to have collapsed again.”

A small sink hole has formed above a damaged culvert off Mill Village Rd. in Shubenacadie, N.S.
A small sink hole has formed above a damaged culvert off Mill Village Rd. in Shubenacadie, N.S. Trish Fulton

In a statement from the Department of Public Works, spokesperson Toby Koffman acknowledged the issue is due to a damaged culvert.

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The full statement reads, “A culvert located on private property just upstream from Mill Village Road is damaged, and storm water at this culvert was backing up causing the road to flood.  Department staff are aware of the situation. Given that the issue is on private property, they will work with the local municipality and private property owners to find a solution.”

Click to play video: 'Antigonish trailer park evacuated amid intense flooding'
Antigonish trailer park evacuated amid intense flooding

But those in the area say a solution is not coming fast enough.

“We’re very concerned about the foundation of our house,” said Fulton. “Three walls of our house was literally under water, and the basement, it was up to the basement windows and it was just pouring into our basement like a faucet.”

Her neighbour, Wiswell, says they’ve already had to fix their foundation and put in numerous insurance claims.

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“We’ve had a cracked foundation, all of our rooms downstairs have been destroyed. We had to fix them and install a sump pump.”

Jodrey says the most frustrating thing is that the flooding would be preventable if the culvert were properly fixed.

“It should not be happening at all,” he said. “It’s not acceptable. Now that the authorities know there’s a problem, know what the problem is then I expect they should be fixing it.”

Fulton says she is fully expecting the area to flood again and says it’s more than a costly inconvenience – it’s also an issue of safety. She worries about what could happen to residents in the event of an emergency if the road is impassable.

“There’s actually a retirement home [down the road] and there was just an ambulance, so [Saturday’s flood] would have delayed an ambulance to getting there if there was an emergency.”

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