New Brunswick

Residents in flood-prone area of Fredericton anxious about spring

People who live in Ward 6 of Fredericton met Tuesday night to talk about potential flooding this spring. Much of the area was under water during 2018's historic flood.

Fredericton neighbourhood that was underwater during 2018's historic spring flood worried about this year

Part of Riverside Drive in Fredericton was impassable during the historic flood of 2018. (Gary Moore/CBC)

As spring-like conditions continue to melt away snow, anxiety is rising for some people in neighbourhoods that are flood prone.  

People who live in Ward 6, on Fredericton's north side, attended a meeting Tuesday evening to talk about potential flooding this year.

A vast part of the ward, which takes in Devon, Barkers Point and Lower St. Mary's, was under water during 2018's historic flood.

Dawn McKay of Mcminniman Court was at the meeting to hear what city officials are saying about the situation this year.

McKay was out of her house for eight months because of damage from last year's flood.

"We lived in our driveway for four months, we lived in a motel for a few months," says McKay, who said she and her family only moved back in just before Christmas.

Dawn McKay and her family were out of their home for eight months because of damage caused by the flood in 2018. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"Everything we owned ended up at the curbside."

McKay said they raised the house four feet and made a number of other changes to the house to prepare for a future flood. But she's still worried about this year.

"I'm concerned that with this year's water content, that might not be enough. We could be in for another one this year."

McKay wasn't the only person at the meeting wondering what's in store for this year.

Fredericton city hall staff were at the meeting to answer questions from residents, following a presentation from Stephen Moore, Fredericton's safety and emergency measures co-ordinator.

"Right now, unfortunately, unless you have a crystal ball, it's just too early to determine that," Moore said.

Although Moore said it's hard to predict what will happen this year, he did offer some insight to the current situation, adding there's significantly more snow than in the past above the Mactaquac Dam, and a little bit more than last year. And what happens in the next four to six weeks is important.

Fredericton’s safety and emergency measures co-ordinator, Stephen Moore, presented to about 30 people Tuesday night in Ward 6. (Gary Moore/CBC)

"Ideally, we'd like to have a nice high-pressure system come over the province with some wind to dry out the snowpack, and then very limited rain and then, of course, warmer temperatures, but not too warm, and cooler nights."

David McKay and his wife, Sharon Tracy, live on Riverside Drive, a portion of which was impassable during the flood last year.

"At the end of February, I start dreaming and having nightmares about flooding," McKay said.  

Much like the 30 people who attended Tuesday's meeting, they hope to have more notice this year about rising water levels.

"Last year it came in so quick," said McKay.

"It can't be that accurate for four or five days out, but at least it'll probably give us a trend whether it's going to go up or down — that's helpful."

Be prepared

Stephen Moore told the people of Ward 6 to be prepared in the coming weeks.

"Watch the weather and watch for our alerts and any updates that we may have," he said.

"Have a plan not only for yourself, but have a plan for your pets. So if you do have to evacuate, you know where you're going to go."

Despite how concerned Dawn McKay is after just moving back into her house, she said all she can do now is wait and see what happens over the next few weeks.

"I've got a generator, I've got boat docks, and I've got a canoe this year, so, nothing else I can do but just hold on for the ride."

About the Author

Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.

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