The rain poured down in October 2016 when the remnant of hurricane Matthew rolled across the island of Newfoundland. The damage from the deluge is still being repaired, with some preventative measures for the future being undertaken.
Apart from private property damage claims, there have been public construction projects in the wake of the storm — emergency work, including to re-establish some road connections, but also projects to help in handling heavy rain in the longer term.
Provincial records show at least 18 communities declared a state of emergency at the time of the storm: St. Alban’s, Milltown-Head of Bay D’Espoir, Glenwood, Little Burnt Bay, Embree, Bishop’s Falls, Hermitage-Sandyville, Northern Arm, Harbour Breton, Morrisville, Norris Arm North, Buchans, Point Leamington, Browns Arm, Stanhope, Norris Arm, Conne River and Lewisporte.
Lewisporte is one community where the movement of water received attention. Specifically, there was water overflowing from Woolfrey’s Pond and its feeders during the height of the storm.
“We have a park around (the pond) and apparently the water was diverted and came down across a lot of properties, and with a lot of damage. So we’re being cautious that if anything (like the storm) happens again, it won’t happen again to the residents,” said Lewisporte Mayor Betty Clarke, speaking with The Telegram on Monday about a related tender that closed last month.
A spokesperson for the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment said in an emailed response to questions an engineering assessment for a damaged bridge in the area and related issues was completed in the fall and winter of 2017. Instead of just replacing the bridge, a plan was developed to deepen and realign one channel to help limit future flooding. The province worked with the municipality to tap federal disaster assistance for the work.
Agreements started to be settled in the summer of 2017 and the decision was made to have a tender issued for the spring of 2018, when there would be better weather conditions versus the fall and winter. Design drawings were submitted to the province in January 2018 and a construction permit was issued in May.
The post-storm project was awarded to Edward Collins Contracting Ltd. The town is making use of $282,399 under the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangement to pay for the work, the mayor said, with another $42,300 from the municipality.
The town is also working on a multimillion-dollar upgrade to its wastewater system, with the help of the federal clean water and wastewater fund, to direct more storm water away from private properties next time around.
“It takes a bit of time to get everything, all of the documentation in place,” the mayor said, when asked about the timespan between the 2016 event and today.
Clarke added she has been pleased with the progress and contributions of the provincial and federal governments.