Holyrood tackling storm surge damage

The town of Holyrood has a major cleanup on its hands due to a storm surge that accompanied last Friday's blizzard.
This is what's left of a section of boardwalk in Holyrood after last Friday's blizzard and storm surge. CBC

The town of Holyrood has a major cleanup on its hands due to a storm surge that accompanied last Friday's blizzard. 

Holyrood mayor Gary Goobie says engineers need to assess the damage before he can figure out how much the repairs will cost. (CBC)

Fifty centimetres of snow was dumped on the Conception Bay town, along with hurricane-force winds which pushed surges of water toward shore.

"We could see the waves coming in here upwards of 10 to 12 feet high," said Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie. "So I knew, looking out through the window, that this was going to be significant."

Beach covered in debris

Huge waves dropped rocks - some up to 30 centimetres in diameter - trees and other debris over the town's boardwalk, across a couple of roads, and into a river which runs through the town.

"If you look at the main beach in Holyrood now, it's like somebody cut down a forest," said Gary Corbett, the town's chief administrative officer. "It's covered with trees all over the beach boardwalk, right to the road."

Sections of the boardwalk were either destroyed or completely covered in debris.

The surge also damaged a wharf belonging to the Marine Institute, as well as a former fish plant building and wharf.

In addition to the infrastructure damage, residents reported that several hundred small birds, known as dovekies, were killed during the storm.

Delayed snowclearing

To complicate matters, said Corbett, workers had to remove the debris before crews could begin clearing the snow that had fallen.

Goobie said the town wants to repair the damage caused by the storm surge, but engineers need to assess the damage to embankments and infrastructure along the coastline before he can even guess at a price tag for the repairs.

"It's pretty significant. I don't know what the cost is right now," admitted Goobie. "We'll have to wait for the engineers to determine that."  

In the meantime, town officials have asked people to stay away from the damaged area.