Nova Scotia

Annapolis County cottage has to be torn down due to landslide risk

A house in Victoria Beach, N.S., will have to be demolished since the land it's sitting on is crumbling away after days of rain.

House and outbuildings in danger of falling over embankment are too old to move

The house is now just about 1.5 metres from the edge of the embankment. (Cheryl Mason)

A cottage in Annapolis County sitting on land that's crumbling away down a steep embankment will have to be demolished, according to the municipality.

Heavy rain over the weekend caused the land below the cottage to shift and begin to slide down a 24-metre high drop off toward another cottage below. 

Both the seasonal homes were evacuated for safety reasons. 

The cottage, located on Granville Road in Victoria Beach, N.S., is now just 1.5 metres from the edge.

The yellow cottage above must be demolished as the land underneath it is giving way and threatening the blue cottage below. (Preston Mulligan/CBC)

There's not much choice but to tear down the home and accessory buildings on the property before they slide down the embankment, said Cheryl Mason, administrator for dangerous and unsightly premises for the Municipality of the County of Annapolis.

"The property is pulling away down the hill which has made the house very close to the edge of the hill now. There is a house and two accessory buildings, unfortunately. They are older homes and probably could not withstand [being moved]," she told CBC's Maritime Noon.

The worry is if the cottage above is not demolished, it will slide the two-dozen metres down the embankments onto the house below. (Cheryl Mason)

"If the buildings were to remain at the top of the hill, there's the possibility that they could go straight down the hill toward the house that is at the bottom. By removing the buildings and hopefully doing some work on the hill, in time, it will reduce the possibility of any anything coming down on top of that."

The homeowner, Charles Haynes, says he still overwhelmed trying to come up with a plan to demolish — in one week — the house he grew up in.

He still not sure whether his insurance coverage is enough to take care of the demolition.

"It's all on the property owner," Mason said. "As the municipal government act says every property owner is responsible for the maintenance of their property and to keep it safe."

The trouble began on Friday when more than 80 millimetres of rain fell in the area of Victoria Beach, about 15 kilometres southwest of Port Royal. There's more rain in the forecast over the next few days.

The landslide has caused trees to topple onto power lines, causing them to arc. (Cheryl Mason)

"As you look over the hill and see where it has deteriorated, more rain today is probably going to undermine what is currently a lawn," said Mason.

Over the weekend, the shifting ground caused trees to fall onto power lines, igniting a fire that had to be extinguished by crews from nearby Annapolis Royal.

Nova Scotia Power cut service to the affected area. Power has since been restored for most others who live nearby but have disconnected the house that will be demolished. 

With files from Maritime Noon and Preston Mulligan

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