New Brunswick

Residents talk flood prevention as series of meetings begin in N.B.

Meetings are taking place across the province this week to allow residents, community groups and others have their say on effectiveness of the provincial response to the 2018 flood. But some want the consultations to be broader.

'What we have to do is prevent the flooding. Why are we accepting the new normal?'

The flooding in New Brunswick in 2018 reached historic levels. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Meetings are taking place across the province this week to allow residents, community groups and others to have their say on the effectiveness of the provincial response to last year's flooding.

About 20 people attended a meeting Saturday in Quispamsis.

Residents said both communication and preparedness could have been better. But many said they wish the consultations went further.

How high will the St. John River rise this spring, and does the Mactaquac Dam have anything to do with it? A New Brunswick flood, explained. 1:26

"We have to look at the new normal," said Bob Alston, who travelled from the Sussex area to be at the meeting.

"What we have to do is prevent the flooding. Why are we accepting the new normal? Why are we accepting the flood?"

Alston said his son's cottage on Grand Land was threatened by last year's historic flooding.

"The flooding continues," he said. "Every year we have the same thing and now it's getting worse. So we have to look at other ways ... of doing it."

Alston suggested looking into water diversion. The Red River Floodway in Winnipeg was cited as an example.

Bob Alston (centre) and other residents discuss the response to the 2018 flood. (Lauren Bird/CBC News)

Anne McAllister said several of her neighbours were affected by the 2018 flood, although her property escaped the worst of it.

Consultants will prepare report for province

 "The other thing that I felt was missing from this [meeting] that I would like to see government do is to start to put in measures to stop these kinds of things from happening, or at least mitigate the worst effects of these things," she said.

Ice jams and open-water are the main types of spring floods along the St. John River. 1:35

The information collected from the meetings will be compiled in a report by consultants at Calian Group and sent to the province by the beginning of May. It will then be made public.

"People care about their community," said Ian Becking of Calian Group. "They care about their property and I think the the input that the residents gave here was very useful."

There was also a meeting Saturday in Saint John.

There will be meetings Monday in Jemseg, Tuesday in Maugerville and Saturday in Grand Falls.