Nova Scotia

Family requests buy out for Hwy 104 headache

A Sutherlands River, N.S., family says they want the provincial government to buy out their home so they will no longer have to deal with nearby construction on Highway 104.
Faye Visser says her family wants the provincial government to buy out their home near Highway 104. (CBC)
A Sutherlands River, N.S., family says they want the provincial government to buy out their home so they will no longer have to deal with nearby construction on Highway 104.

"I'm beyond frustrated," said Faye Visser, whose family has lived on the property for 41 years.

"I'm usually a strong person but I get very emotional because this was our little piece of heaven."

Visser said there's been constant noise and fumes since twinning started on Highway 104 nearly two years ago. There was so much dust, she said, that the family had to stop using their pool.

"If we had put any more chemicals in it, it would've eaten our skin," said Visser.

Visser's family has always lived with Highway 104 in their backyard. There used to be a row of trees about 10 metres deep that acted as a buffer, but those trees were removed for the highway construction.

In the spring, Visser said her family started getting sick.

"In August, they came and they did a water test," she told CBC News on Thursday.

"We got it back that said it was full of E. coli and coliform, and not to use it."

While the provincial government has not said construction caused the family's water supply issues, they are providing bottled water and have promised to install a filtration system.

Visser said her family wants the provincial government to buy them out so they can move and have some peace and quiet.

A family living in Sutherlands River says there have been constant noise and fumes since twinning began on Highway 104. (CBC)
Bill Estabrooks, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, said he was sympathetic to the Vissers' ordeal but would not be buying their home.

"There's going to be some disruptions because of noise and various things and we're prepared as a department to continue to negotiate with them whether there's a clean up of their property, making sure they have safe drinking water and so on," Estabrooks told reporters on Thursday.

"But at this stage, we're not interested in expropriation of the land."

Allister MacDonald, a Pictou County councillor, said the county is backing the Visser family.

"Legally, it may be right, but morally it's wrong to treat these people the way the province has treated them."

now