Victoria-Tobique MLA Wes McLean says Perth-Andover needs a long-term solution to its flooding problems but the area politician isn’t making promises about a relocation program for flood victims.

The St. John River rose in March, forcing about one-third of the small community to leave their homes.

McLean said a working group has begun looking for solutions.


Wes McLean said the working group will consider all options. (PCNB)

"It needs a long-term solution because it's not fair that people should go through this whether it’s every year or 10 years, the worry's going to be there every spring. So we'll be looking at options for mitigation and how we can protect the community.  Really, the viability of the community is at stake," he said.

The working group will consist of representatives from the provincial and federal governments, First Nations and the village.

McLean said they will consider every possible solution.

"It's simply too much of a tragedy for people to go through for us not to look at all the options on the table," he said.

The Perth-Andover Flood Victims Committee is calling for a relocation program from the province because its members feel the flooding problem is man-made.

They blame the Beechwood Dam, just downriver from the village.

'The viability of the community is at stake' —Wes McLean, Victoria-Tobique MLA

The chair of the committee told CBC that help so far has been slow to come, and that victims are frustrated, worried and desperate.

McLean met with the committee on Wednesday night.

He said he understands their concerns and said the reaction of the community is appropriate considering what they're going through.

But McLean stopped short of saying that the solution is in relocation.

"You can't replace the memories, and you know, at the end of the day, people want stability. And if we can help them achieve that, then that’s an objective we’ve got to undertake."

The working group is supposed to file a report by the end of August.