Flood waters receding in Dorchester
Residents calling on minister of transportation and emergency measures officials to take action
Flood waters are receding from the streets in Dorchester, but area residents who were stranded for days by the January thaw are calling on the provincial government for improved changes.
They say the situation was downright dangerous, with the area inaccessible, even to emergency vehicles.
The village was brought to a virtual standstill. Schools were closed and residents without vehicles high enough to push through the flooded roads were stranded.
Tara Veach, of Upper Dorchester, said about 17 households were stuck since Monday, with conditions especially bad at high tide.
On Thursday night, the water over the road south of her home was more than a metre deep.
"And there are big ice floes that flow through it on either end, which makes it impassable, and then to the north of us it's less flooded but still flooded over," Veach told CBC News on Friday.
"If you take a risk to head on out, you may not be able to come back in," said Veach, who had to rent a van after she attempted to drive Route 106 to take her children to school on Monday and her vehicle ended up in the shop, needing a new engine.
"It's been an expensive week, and an inconvenient one."
Hoyt also affected
Residents of Hoyt have been cut off by flooding as well this week.
The transportation department says an ice jam on the south branch of the Oromocto River is to blame.
The area is prone to flooding because there are two large flood plains in the Hoyt Valley.
Debbie McCann says the flooding has forced her to take a 90 kilometre detour.
"To me, I really feel that's quite unacceptable and if one of those roads can be fixed where we can have an alternate route to get through, that would be what we would like to see and we really feel that's something that can be done."
Meanwhile Veach, who has two children in school, says getting them to class this week has been challenging with no buses able to pick them up.
His response was that it is not his responsibility to put food in our fridge, which is not what we're asking for. We're asking for someone to come and check and just make sure everyone is okay and to give us a little bit of a game plan.- Tara Veach, Upper Dorchester resident
"We've had a wonderful neighbour who has driven his very large tractor through the flooding, with the kids up in the tractor with him. So that has worked, but it's a lot of work for him," Veach said.
"Then my husband, he's a little bit more intrepid than I am and he's taken to riding his bike down to the big flood and hoping that there's a very large vehicle going through that he can throw his bike on and hitch a ride."
Residents call for improved services
Veach says neighbours in the area have been checking in on one another, but yesterday she began feeling like there was no end in sight for residents who are stranded.
She contacted the department of transportation who arranged for someone from the emergency measures organization to contact her.
"I expressed my concern that the people who are stuck here need to be checked on and we need to make sure that people have what they need."
But Veach calls the response from the EMO official disappointing.
"His response was that it is not his responsibility to put food in our fridge, which is not what we're asking for. We're asking for someone to come and check and just make sure everyone is OK and to give us a little bit of a game plan," she said.
"We imagined, you know, giving out phone numbers, 'Here's who to call if you don't have what you need. Here's who to call if you have an emergency,' but we haven't seen that."
Veach would like to see some kind of shuttle service offered so people can get to work and to school.
She says a couple of hours after that conversation, she heard from the Dorchester fire chief who reassured her that if anyone was in trouble they would be there to help.
Road changes needed
Marcel Doiron thinks the government needs to look into raising the road in Dorchester.
"But I don't know, it was mentioned before and the cost would be too high for the amount of time that it floods," he said.
A Department of Transportation spokesperson said officials will assess the condition of the road once the water has receded, but offered no guarantee the road will be fixed.
McCann says in Hoyt, it's time for the transportation department to start looking at improving an alternate route.
"I would like to hear the minister say, 'Well maybe I should take a drive out there and see what the situation is in Hoyt.' It's easy to sit behind a desk and make decisions when you haven't even looked at a situation."
McCann says residents of Hoyt, Wirral, Enniskillen and South Oromocto Lake have all been affected.
CBC contacted the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and received a statement from Claude Williams.
It says, in part, "The water at this location is now receding and Route 101 is again open to traffic."