Nfld. & Labrador

Mud Lake flooding victims prepare to launch class action suit

Residents affected by flooding on the Churchill River in May say they're in talks with lawyers and intend to file a class action lawsuit against Nalcor.

The person initiating legal action anticipated all affected will get on board

John Chaisson may be smiling, but he's not happy about how the overflowing Churchill River damaged homes in Mud Lake and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. (CBC)

Residents affected by flooding on the Churchill River in May say they're in talks with lawyers and intend to file a class action lawsuit against Nalcor, the Crown corporation behind Muskrat Falls.

St. John's lawyer Ches Crosbie has been giving the group pro bono legal advice and has pointed them in the direction of another firm.

"He says we have a really good case against Nalcor," said John Chaisson the person who initiated the process.

About 30 people whose homes sustained damage have signed on according to Chaisson who believes everyone affected, roughly 100 people by his estimation, will likely get onboard.

About 30 per cent of the 100 or so families who lost property in the flooding have signed on to a lawsuit, according to John Chaisson. (CBC)

Chaisson says he's "100 per cent sure" that Muskrat Falls caused the flooding that displaced Mud Lake and the area where he lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, named Mud Lake Road.

Living in fear

"It's about proving that [Muskrat Falls is] the cause of this and we want to be ensured also that it's not going to happen again," said Mud Lake resident, Watson Rumbolt who also believes Nalcor is to blame. 

"And hopefully we can get something out of it to rebuild our lives back down there."

Rumbolt has been living in fear since the flood. He said he's been having a reoccurring dream since the community evacuation. 

"I wake up just as I'm putting my feet in the water," he said.

"After going back to sleep, I'm asleep for about another half an hour and I'm gone right back into the same dream."

More than the property damage, Chaisson said the flood has changed people's quality of life.

It's about proving that [Muskrat Falls is] the cause,- Watson Rumbolt

"What are our lives worth? What are we worth? It's like we're not worth nothing to Nalcor," he said.

"We'll have to show them that we are worth it and they got to do their stuff right."

Crosbie intends to take a helicopter tour of Mud Lake and area later this month.

He said he is not in a position to take the case himself because of his campaign to become the leader of the PC party. 

Crosbie stressed the law firm he suggested to the group has not yet agreed to represent them. ​

With files from Jacob Barker