Retirement plans dashed as couple loses cabin to rising pond water

Water levels at Bottomless Brook off Route 430 on the province's west coast are four metres higher than normal and showing no signs of receding.

Up to the roof, pond water floods 5 cabins on Bottomless Pond, north of Deer Lake

Una and Melvin Hoyles of Cormack built their cabin at Bottomless Pond just five years ago, with the hopes of moving there permanently. (Colleen Connors /CBC )

Water levels at Bottomless Brook off Route 430 on the province's west coast are four metres higher than normal and showing no signs of receding. 

The rising pond flooded and destroyed five cabins and several trailer homes, including Una and Melvin Hoyles's property, where they say they have lost $50,000 worth of belongings.

"It's devastating, to say the least," said Una Hoyles, wiping away tears as she looked across the pond that's doubled in size.

Una and Melvin Hoyles's cabin, left, and their brother Mark Hoyles's cabin, right, are flooded on Bottomless Pond. (Colleen Connors/CBC )

"Melvin and I had plans to come here this year to spend a year or two, kind of our retirement home. Actually, I was ready. Totally ready. Now all those plans are dashed."

Cabin owners in the area say the water has been rising since late April.

Melvin Hoyles can't get close enough to assess the damage because the road to his cabin is covered in water. But from across the pond, he can see that his garage, and most of his cabin, are completely underwater.

"My estimate right now is there is $50,000 gone into it. At least that. I got my granddaughter's quad, all my power tools up there, I have $3,000 in lumber floating around the pond somewhere," he said.

The Hoyles's insurance does not cover flood damage.

Cabin owners believe warm temperatures and heavy rain in January washed out roads along the hillside near Bottomless Pond, pushing sand, rock, silt and earth into the water, preventing it from draining naturally. 

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment sent a statement to CBC, saying its water resources division assessed water levels.

Debris floats around this flooded shed in a pond north of Deer Lake off Route 430. (Colleen Connors/CBC )

It said the high water is due to multiple factors, including spring runoff, heavy rainfall and ground saturation and that water levels are expected to recede with time. 

Cabin owners say the government should do more to help them with proper drainage and repairs. 

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About the Author

Colleen Connors

CBC News

Colleen Connors reports on western Newfoundland from CBC's bureau in Corner Brook.