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A year later: There’s still work to be done to repair the damages of January 2018’s flood in Humber Arm South

It has been a year since a landslide closed the highway to Benoit’s Cove as shown in this file photo.
It has been a year since a landslide closed the highway to Benoit’s Cove as shown in this file photo. - Star file photo

Note: This is the first collection of articles in our coverage of the anniversary of the 2018 January flooding.

There’s still quite a bit of work to be done in Humber Arm South to repair damage caused by flooding in last January’s rain storm.

Humber Arm South, located on the south shore of the Bay of Islands, is made up of four communities — Halfway Point, Benoit’s Cove, John’s Beach and Frenchman’s Cove.

On Jan. 13, 2018 it was one of several west coast communities affected after heavy rain caused flooding, mudslides, landslides and washed out roads.

Along the main road flooding from Clarke’s Brook surrounded one home, forcing its residents to be evacuated.

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Access through the town was limited for a few days after a small slide near the Bayview Club caused the road to settle.

At Rattling Brook, a major washout cut off access between Humber Arm South and Lark Harbour and York Harbour, the two furthest communities along the shore

Roads and infrastructure within the town were also damaged.

Mayor Glenn Savard said it was the first time the town had ever called a state of emergency.

He’s lived in the area all his life.

“We’ve had some pretty bad times down there, but this was by far the worst.”

With an early start to winter this year and the spring thaw still to come, Savard is hoping there won’t be a repeat.

“The weather patterns seem to be changing through out, so it’s a possibility it can happen again.”

All it would take is another major rain storm.

“If there’s a rain now, well we won’t lose any more pavement in First Avenue, it’s already gone.”

The town undertook making some repairs on its own after the storm on Park Drive in Benoit’s Cove, including some ditching in the backcountry.

“As stuff has changed in the backcountry, tributaries and brooks in the back country have changed. The pre-existing storm systems that Mother Nature put there, they’re all rerouted and moved around.”

It’s also done some extensive dredging in the Clarke’s Brook area.

“That’s going to be a big flag for us. We’re going to be watching that every year.”

Among the priorities left to done are repairs to the lift station near the fish plant.

Savard said there is also work to be done on culvert sizing.

Once everything is done, the town will have received about $300,000 in disaster relief funding.

That won’t cover everything that needs to be fixed and Savard is not sure where the money will come from.

“We don’t want to raise taxes. We’re not going to raise it if there’s any way to do it,” he said.

“We’re still building, so it’s hard to have money left over for maintenance.”

He’s hoping that the town will be able to access more capital works money to cover the work.

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