Nova Scotia

Community wants Gabarus seawall repaired

A Cape Breton group called the Friends of Gabarus is concerned about the community's aging seawall.
The Gabarus seawall needs repair, according to people in the community. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

A Cape Breton group called the Friends of Gabarus is concerned about the community's aging seawall, which they believe is in danger of collapsing.

The seawall has been protecting fishermen's boats, equipment and the small community of Gabarus for about 70 years.

The provincial government did a geohazard assessment of the wall in January.

The group met with the Department of Natural Resources last week, and a provincial engineer will be sent in to review the repair costs to the seawall.

It's not known who will fund the seawall's repair.

"It was a very positive, positive meeting they said they will do what they can to help us," said Heather Hayes, one of the members of the group.

"They assured us the wall has to be repaired and they are going to try to be a champion for us and help get the federal government involved."

The Friends of Gabarus say it needs to be fixed before the ocean breaks through.

"The overwash itself would flood part of the lower village. It could wash away most of the fishing infrastructure that exists there that is behind the seawall," said Gene Kersey, another member of the group.

The Atlantic Ocean flooded the lower part of the village during a storm in 2010.

The storm battered fishing boats with beach rock and sand. It took days to dig out and fix damaged sheds.

The Seawall was constructed by the federal government in the 1940s and repaired in the '80s .

The province said it doesn't own the seawall and is unclear about the ownership of the land.

"Responsibility travels with the fact they build the seawall — we believe … Transport Canada or some department of the federal government. One of those have maintained it for many years," said group member Tim Menk.

The Friends of Gabarus are awaiting a provincial study into the costs of repairing the seawall, while the federal government looks into the seawall's owner.