On alert

Karen Wells
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Hurricane Flood Alert Program includes Comfort Cove-Newstead

COMFORT COVE-NEWSTEAD — When Hurricane Igor hit this province in 2010, Comfort Cove-Newstead was one of the communities that felt its wrath.

While the damage wasn’t as extreme as in other locations where houses were destroyed and roads washed away, it was still a matter of concern.

“We had a lot of storm sewer water go into our sewer system and all of that water is pumped by two lift stations out to the ocean where there is an outfall,” Mayor Randy White explained. “Because at the time we had extremely high tides and extremely high winds, there was no way for the water to punch through to get out. It’s not like in Lewisporte where you don’t get it that rough in the harbor.

“It was so rough that it shifted the pipes and rocks going into this outfall and then the outfall actually crushed. That meant the sewer and water that was supposed to come out through there was backed up into the community. It wasn’t that bad because 100 feet back from the outfall was a manhole cover and that just popped off and all the water came up through that.”

A few households with washroom facilities located below the waterline experienced some water in their basements. There was significant damage to the outfall that required extensive work to repair.

White said the community has a lot of mature trees, and the winds caused some to fall over. The greatest concern was for those that fell across power lines and left the community without power for a time until the situation could be addressed.

So in adverse/extreme weather conditions, the municipality of Comfort Cove-Newstead has reason for concern. That’s why White is pleased that the town is one of 45 in the Province identified last week to be included in a Hurricane Flood Alert Program.

A $90,000 contract has been awarded to AMEC for the program.

“As climate change continues to affect our province, more communities are experiencing flooding and need flood risk warning systems to allow them to prepare and react quickly,” said Environment and Conservation Minister and Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Vaughn Granter. “By investing in monitoring and research, our government has taken action to provide those living in areas more prone to flooding the tools they need to respond to adverse precipitation events.”

Organizations: Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Vaughn Granter, Hurricane Flood Alert Service, Fire and Emergency Services

Geographic location: Comfort Cove-Newstead, Lewisporte, Newfoundland and Labrador

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