Nfld. & Labrador

In hot water: Mud Lake residents grill politicians, call for flooding investigation

Mud Lake residents put their questions to Labrador MP Yvonne Jones and Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper at a heated meeting Friday morning.

Things got heated at a meeting between residents, MP Yvonne Jones and MHA Perry Trimper

Labrador MP Yvonne Jones and Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper met with the community Friday morning to address concerns and try to answer questions. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Some residents of Mud Lake got a chance to fly over their community Friday to look at the damage from flooding and to put their concerns to area politicians.

"It's organized chaos here today," Mud Lake resident Melissa Best told the CBC after a heated meeting with Labrador MP Yvonne Jones and Lake Melville MHA Perry Trimper  . 

"I think our MP walked away with a lot more questions. She definitely didn't have many answers other than 'we're going to try ... we're going to check.'"

Earlier in the day, some residents choppered over the community to see its current state. 

"There's a lot of oil and fuel on the channel," Watson Rumbolt told others from the waterlogged town.

"We're not sure yet where it's coming from."

Photos taken from the air Friday show the damage from flooding in Mud Lake. (Yvonne Jones)

"There's extensive damage when it comes to water systems, sewer systems. All those kinds of things," said Jones, who also flew over the flooded area along the Churchill River. 

"I don't want you thinking that you're going to go home in a few days ... some of these things will take a period of time."

Independent investigation

Community members were asking for an independent investigation into the flood. Those who spoke at the Friday meeting were distrustful of the province's involvement with the Muskrat Falls project.

"It has to be a federal government assessment," Joy Williams said.

"All I can say is we have an ongoing concern with that project, no question," Trimper responded.

"It's not going away and we're going to get to the bottom of it. If there's any influence at all, we'll find out."


Concerns about returning, rebuilding and compensating those who've had their properties damaged or written off were also brought up.

"What if people want to relocate? What if this Muskrat Falls, whatever natural disaster occured ... what if that's a threat in the back of everybody's mind?" Best asked.

"We can't afford to buy a piece of land in Goose Bay."

Jones said the decisions about compensation and the investigation lie in the hands of the province.

"How [they] are done, when they're done. They will also be the people who determine what the appropriate reimbursement or disaster relief fund is going to look like," she said.

"We reimburse about 90 per cent of what the provincial cost is."

Nalcor responds

For its part, Nalcor released a statement shortly before 7 p.m. Friday evening.

"The Muskrat Falls reservoir has limited storage capacity. There is no ability to store water upstream of the facility to reduce downstream flows," it read.

The utility says water levels at Muskrat Falls are maintained at 21.5 metres and "spillway gates are regularly adjusted so the amount of water flowing into the reservoir is the same as the amount flowing out" to maintain that level.

Upstream side of the spillway, as seen on May 19. Gates 1 & 2 are open; and Gates 3, 4 & 5 are partially open. (Nalcor Energy/Submitted)

The statement also said adjustments have been made at the dam on the Churchill River, upstream from Mud Lake.

"Nalcor has however decreased production from the Upper Churchill Falls plant to help reduce water flows into the Churchill River."