Nfld. & Labrador

Bonavista facing $10M in damage following record blizzard

The sea wall is washed out in multiple sections, and the town says things will only get worse if storms continue.

Town lost nearly a kilometer of sea wall during the storm last month

Waves spray Bonavista during a storm on Saturday, Jan. 18. (Submitted by Eric Abbott)

The town of Bonavista has sent an application to the federal government for disaster relief funding after extensive damage from last month's record blizzard.

"What we have identified, what we need immediate funding for … are the [parts] that make our infrastructure vulnerable," town manager David Hiscock told CBC Radio's Newfoundland Morning.

Hiscock said the town lost about 800 metres of seawall during the record-breaking blizzard, which brought upwards of 70 centimetres of snow and wind gusts of 120 km/h, with some reports clocking 160 km/h. There was also damage done to private property.

The town estimates the cost of repair at $10 million.

Hiscock said the cost comes from replacing the wooden seawalls with armour stone, as well as tackling other issues with the sea wall and other damage. Although the initial cost of using armour stone is high, Hiscock calls the switch "a lifetime solution."

The town has had no response from the federal government, as government is still in the application phase for municipalities seeking reimbursement.

'I'm sure it will happen again'

According to Hiscock, paved roads adjacent to the most damaged areas sit just over a metre from the washed-out sea wall. He thinks the area puts people in danger, and will continue to decay with each new storm.

"Another storm even close to the one we had obviously would undermine the street," Hiscock said. "And of course once that's done, our water and sewer is in jeopardy."

Hiscock said the wind is a key factor in Bonavista, as the area is known for its high gusts.

"So with no sea fence there, 100 kilometres of wind could do a lot of damage," Hiscock said. "Almost as much as the 160 did with the sea fence that isn't there anymore.

"I'm sure it will happen again."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning

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