Perth-Andover Flood Victims Committee wants action

People in the New Brunswick village of Perth-Andover say they want action, not reports. A team of community, provincial and federal representatives released a study Friday into how to prevent a repeat of the devastating flooding last March.

Says report offers little new for waiting residents of Perth-Andover

Residents of Perth-Andover have been waiting since March to find our how the province will respond to emergency flooding. (CBC)

People in the New Brunswick village of Perth-Andover say they want action, not reports.

A team of community, provincial and federal representatives released a study Friday into how to prevent a repeat of the devastating flooding last March.

The review committee recommended further investigation into how the provincial government can improve its risk assessment of potential ice break-ups and enhance its monitoring and flood forecasting capacity to provide real-time flow and water level monitoring, movement and ice jam formation.

But Al McPhail, the head of the Flood Victims Committee in Perth-Andover said Saturday that other than a few details, the study offers little new. He said everyone has already called for the relocation of homes damaged by the high waters.

The report said moving or flood-proofing the village of Perth-Andover would cost the provincial government about $7.5 million. The estimated cost for similar measures in Tobique First Nation is $700,000.

McPhail said what the report doesn't take into consideration is the flood's impact on business in the village.

"We lost 65 jobs at the call centre. Our local pub closed down and it's not coming back. And there are several other businesses around town," said McPhail.

In total, he said more than a hundred jobs have been lost.

McPhail said even businesses that have re-opened lost so much money they require help as well.

"It doesn't matter how good or poor the report is; what matters is the premier, how he reacts to the various options outlined in there," he said.

Government response soon

MLA Wes McLean said Perth-Andover's economy is a major concern for the Alward government. He said government will consider ways of helping businesses hit by the flooding.

"Despite the fact it might not have been expressly enumerated in the report, businesses are still top of the line for government," McLean said.

"We understand the role that small, medium-sized enterprises play in our economy. And we understand how the businesses of Perth-Andover have been severely affected by this flood, worse than any other one before."

McLean said his government will respond to the report with plans to help Perth-Andover soon. 

The province has said a relocation program could be an option.

Flooding in March caused a state of emergency to be declared in Perth-Andover, with about one-third of the western village’s 1,770 residents being forced to leave their homes.

The flood level was roughly 1.5 metres higher than the last major flood in 1987.

Many homes and businesses were damaged, along with the local hospital and high school.

Residents of the Tobique First Nation were also evacuated and transported to safe locations.