Saturday, May 12, 2018

"Crying is not going to help" Maugerville, New Brunswick, residents begin heartbreaking cleanup

Maugerville residents and business owners return to find out what the flood waters have claimed

Matthew Bingley · CBC News · Posted: May 12, 2018 6:44 PM AT | Last Updated: 7 hours ago

With their road access restored, residents and business owners have returned to Maugerville after more than two weeks of flooding to begin the painful process of rebuilding their lives.

With most of her belongings on the front lawn, Karina Asmar said she lost almost everything in the flood. She and her partner Chris Bailey made regular trips home by kayak while the water was still high, but this Saturday was the first full day the couple could clean-up.

"I walked in and I swear, I felt completely lost," said Asmar. "I didn't know where to start."

The couple's home is now a hive of activity with friends and family tearing off soggy drywall to make it livable.

Despite the pain of seeing the devastation, Asmar said with worst of the flood over, she's finding she needs to smile.

"The first five days, I would have been in tears," she said, "then you realize crying is not going to help. It's not going to bring everything back."

Asmar is counting her blessings that at least her photo albums were stored high enough that the water couldn't reach them.

The reality of life after a flood is sinking in elsewhere in the community as well. Kirk Spencer has a shipping container on his front lawn, which will become the temporary home for what wasn't ruined by contaminated water.

"Once you can actually get here, check things out, it sinks in a lot more," said Spencer. 

That uncertainty is also being felt by John Buiting who co-owns Portobello Sod Farms. The company's signs boast that "the grass is always greener on our side," but at the moment, that grass is still underwater.

"I'm hoping that we have a half-decent summer, but I can't really tell until the water goes down," said Buiting. He's concerned the wind and waves whipped up last weekend have eroded the soil.

The older grass should survive, but Buiting said he's more concerned about the grass seed he laid out last year that's not as well established.

Many along Route 105 are hoping the Provincial Government's disaster relief program will provide them a little aid. Especially Monty MacMillan, who only found out he didn't have flood insurance after the flood.

MacMillan runs a chainsaw sculpture business and has lost expensive tools and equipment. "We've taken a lot of pictures in hopes that there'll be some assistance from somebody," he said.

Along with everything ruined by the water, MacMillan said a four-foot sculpture depicting himself carving a bear has disappeared.

"I have no idea where it went," he said with a laugh, "it's probably in Jemseg or Saint John."

Water levels to dip below flood stage for most of New Brunswick. by early next week

Some communities could still face high floodwaters

Sarah Petz · CBC News · Posted: May 12, 2018 8:30 AM AT | Last Updated: 11 hours ago

Water levels to drop below flood stage for most of New Brunswick by next week
No major damage seen thus far to Fredericton roads, spokesman says
Saint John EMO looking for volunteers, lifts evacuation recommendation for most areas
Soldiers patrolling flooded areas Saturday to assess damage
As water levels along the St. John River steadily recede, municipalities are ramping up efforts to clean up from the flooding that has devastated parts of New Brunswick.

On Friday, water levels in Fredericton dropped below flood stage for the first time in about two weeks.

Friday also marked the reopening of the Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton, as army engineers were mobilized to flood-affected areas to assess damage to roads and bridges.

Today in Saint John, the city's EMO officially lifted the recommended evacuation for all homes, expect for those still surrounded by water in Tippet Drive, Farry Cove Road, Lawrence Long, and Road by Road 7.

Water levels continue to drop

By early Saturday morning, water levels were roughly six metres along the St. John River near Fredericton, half a metre below flood stage, according to real-time data provided by the federal government.

In Maugerville, water levels were at 5.8 metres and below flood stage for that part of the river.

Out of hell, 'High Water': flood gives birth to inspiration
Satellite images depict scale of historic New Brunswick flood
However, in the Saint John area, levels were at 4.5 metres Saturday morning, still slightly above flood stage.

According to the province's latest Riverwatch forecast, water levels for most parts of the province should drop below flood stage by early next week.

The forecast says water levels should be at 5.2 metres in the Fredericton area by Tuesday, while levels should be at 3.9 metres in the Saint John region by Monday.

In Sheffield-Lakeville Corner and Jemseg, water levels could still be above flood stage next week, though only Jemseg is expected to have water levels above flood stage for the rest of the week.

Recovery begins, volunteers needed 

Now that the worst of the flooding appears to be over, recovery efforts across the province are in full swing.

New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) has launched a website with information for property owners on cleanup, safety and details on volunteering.

In Fredericton, crews were busy clearing debris from roads and checking on city infrastructure at the end of the week.

Thus far, the flooding doesn't appear to have caused any major damage to the city's roadways, said city spokesman Wayne Knorr.

In Saint John, the city's EMO is looking for people to sign up for a "volunteer blitz" to help homeowners affected by flooding move debris to the curb.

Those interested can register at Harbour Station. Orientation on Saturday and Sunday takes place at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. but EMO staff will accommodate those who can't register at those times.

Volunteers can also register at the following community support centres:

Denis Morris Community Center, 330 Greenhead Road
North Depot, 14 Macintosh Road
KBM, 2452 Westfield Road
Volunteers will be assigned to teams and shuttled to various flood-impacted areas across the city.

Pick-up service offered 

In Fredericton, the city is offering a special debris pick-up service for property owners impacted by flooding until May 28.

Residents are asked to put all of their debris and flood-related waste curbside, including broken appliances, drywall, carpet and clothes.

Any household hazardous materials should be piled separately from flood debris, and wet building materials should be torn up as soon as possible to avoid mould buildup, the city said in a news release on its website.

Knorr stressed that residents impacted by flooding should try to get wet material out of their homes as fast as possible to prevent mould growth.

Crews are patrolling flooded areas of Fredericton regularly, so residents can put their materials on the curb at anytime, Knorr said.

Army arrives, Trudeau visits  

Army engineers were mobilized Friday to help provincial authorities with mitigation measures and assist in planning and co-ordinating relief efforts.

Base Gagetown spokesman Capt. Jamie Tobin said about 40 soldiers, comprised of 10 teams of four, were working through the St. John River Valley Saturday, assessing damage to transport routes and critical infrastructure, if there is any.

They will then pass that information on to the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure "so they can prioritize where they're going to make those repairs."

The Canadian Coast Guard is also still assisting New Brunswick EMO, patrolling flooded ares and providing transport to and from Darlings Island, said Keith Laidlaw, deputy superintendent of environmental response for the Canadian Coast Guard Atlantic Region.

He said the Coast Guard will continue their role until they're told by the province that they're no longer needed.

Premier Brian Gallant announced Thursday that he has asked the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct a reconnaissance mission to determine what, if any, support it could provide now that floodwaters have started to recede.

Soldiers assessing flood-damaged roads and bridges won't be heaving sandbags
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale confirmed later that day via Twitter that the federal government would step in.

However, Gallant later said the agreement came with some "caveats."

"The Canadian Armed Forces personnel — and this is important, I believe, for New Brunswickers affected by the floods to know — will not engage in post-flooding damage cleanup or other such tasks that would place the Canadian Armed Forces in competition with local industry," he said during an unrelated news conference in Moncton on Friday.

The military will not make final determinations as to the "serviceability or safety" of civilian infrastructure either, he said.

That responsibility rests with the provincial government, said Gallant.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Oromocto late Friday afternoon visiting an incident command post and touring affected communities along the St. John River with the premier and local MPs.

"Even though the waters are lower, you know that there's been tremendous flooding, [a] tremendous number of people impacted and of course the work on the cleanup is going to come in the coming weeks and months. It's still going to be a real issue," Trudeau said during a brief statement to reporters.

To date, 1,688 people from 738 households have registered with the Red Cross.