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Tense times as mild weather set to possibly worsen Humber River erosion issue in Deer Lake

Newfoundland Power crews work to connect power lines to a pole that was moved from one side of Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake to the other after it was compromised due to riverbank erosion.
Newfoundland Power crews work to connect power lines to a pole that was moved from one side of Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake to the other after it was compromised due to riverbank erosion. - Photo by Roxanne Ryland

There was a little more erosion of the riverbank along Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake Tuesday, but the town is really bracing for what might happen today.

Four homes on the street that runs along the Humber River have been on a voluntary evacuation alert this week, with the municipality urging those residents to leave.

The sandy bank began to be eaten away by high water levels and flowing ice after a rain storm that struck western Newfoundland Jan. 13.

Related stories:

Homeowners in Deer Lake’s volunteer evacuation zone vow to stay until the last minute

Two homes on Pine Tree Drive in Deer Lake urged to evacuate because of riverbank erosion

Mayor Dean Ball says Humber River’s eroding banks will continue to be a serious concern for Deer Lake

Riverside homeowners in Deer Lake hope the Humber River recedes before evacuation is ordered

On Tuesday, a crew from Newfoundland Power finished relocating four utility poles from the river side of Pine Tree Drive to the opposite side. One of those poles had been dangling in the foundering sand beneath it.

After Newfoundland Power finished its work, a crew from Aliant was scheduled to move in to relocate its wires to the other side of the road, so the poles on unstable ground could be removed altogether.

Mayor Dean Ball said a little bit more of the riverbank had given way between Monday and Tuesday. He said the town will be dealing with an engineering consultant to assess the situation as it continues to develop.

Today’s forecast of mild temperatures and rain could make the situation worse. Ball said he feels further deterioration of the riverbank is inevitable, though it’s uncertain when that will be.

The affected residents had still been choosing to remain in their homes, as of deadline Tuesday.

The provincial Department of Municipal Affairs said it has been working with its emergency management partners and the town in preparation for the potential of further erosion.

The department said it will offer assistance where necessary in the event of any emergency situations that might arise.

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