CBRM mayor says it could cost $4.5M to relocate flooded residents

CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke says the cost of relocating two dozen homes recently flooded in Sydney is now estimated at $4.5 million and that the province will foot the bill.

CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke said the McNeil government will foot the bill

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke at Province House in Halifax Thursday. (CBC)

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Cecil Clarke says the cost of relocating 24 homes recently flooded in a Sydney neighbourhood is now estimated to be $4.5 million and that the province will pay for it.

"We're moving as fast as we can and money is moving without any restriction and what we needed was the clarity of what we could do and what I've been told by the premier and the ministers is do what's needed," Clarke said.

Clarke made the case during meetings with Premier Stephen McNeil and two cabinet ministers. He said 2,250 people have asked for flood relief so far.

$4-5M for relocation

"To do a relocation plan you would be in the $4-5 million or so to do that from initial estimates that have been done. But right now we have to get those detailed estimates in place, work with the families," Clarke said.

Two weeks after a neighbourhood in central Sydney suffered historic flooding, 17 homeowners have agreed their houses should be torn down. (Vaughan Merchant/Canadian Press)

On Monday, 17 property owners in the area agreed their homes should be torn down. 

Clarke said affected families have met with all three levels of government. He said the plan is to make sure they have constant contact with government to follow up with their needs.

Not for redevelopment

"We recognize that the weather is getting colder, Christmas is coming and all of us are motivated to work through a very comprehensive set of databases ... to get the information we need to make informed decision," he said.

Clarke said if the whole neighbourhood is designated to relocate, the matter would go to council to make it a no development zone.

"We've got to be very clear," Clarke said. "If you're moving people on, you're not going to move anyone else into an area that has been devastated like this one has been."

When asked what the site could be in the future, he suggested some kind of recreation space like a soccer field, "that can easily be dealt with in the case of other water overflows in those areas."

With files from Paul Withers