Nova Scotia

Heavy rain in Halifax traps SUV on flood-prone downtown street

A rainy day in Halifax trapped at least one car when a flood-prone downtown street submerged a vehicle yet again on Monday. Halifax Water said during heavy rains, all the water flows to a low point at Barrington and Inglis streets, which some neighbours say should be more widely known.

Neighbours say low-lying area floods often in heavy rain and there should be warning signs

The south part of Barrington Street below Inglis Street floods with water on Oct.2, 2020, trapping an SUV. (Shannon Harvie)

A rainy day in Halifax trapped at least one car when a flood-prone downtown street submerged a vehicle yet again on Monday, bringing calls from some neighbours for warning signs.

Shannon Harvie lives in the small section of Barrington Street that stretches south of Inglis Street, and has seen the area flood during heavy rain about six times in the past year.

She discovered the flooding around 11:30 a.m. Monday when she and her dog had to postpone their walk as the water stretched up her driveway.

"It smells really gross and it's super nasty," Harvie said.

Not only does it smell, but Harvie says they always have to clean up garbage that washes into their yard.

Shannon Harvie's husky, Reo, stands beside the flood water at the end of her driveway on Barrington Street during a flash flood on Oct.5, 2020. (Shannon Harvie)

An SUV parked on the street had water reaching over the wheel wells. Harvie shared a video of the vehicle to social media, just in case the owner needed it for an insurance claim.

Halifax Water crews showed up with pump trucks and removed the water by early afternoon, Harvie said.

Although the flooding is obviously "quite a dangerous situation," Harvie said there might not be an easy solution to the issue in such a low-lying area of the city near the waterfront, since she isn't aware of anything that has been done to mitigate it.

"I mean, it's quite deep and cars could easily get stuck in there if someone were to be stranded at one end of the street," she said.

"Like, it's not great."

Ciera Davis knows exactly what it's like to have her car written off in a Barrington Street flood, and said there should be notices for motorists and tenants in the area.

Apartment garage flooded in past

Davis lives in the Peninsula Place apartment building at the foot of Barrington and Inglis, and said this July she and some other people lost their cars when water flooded the parking garage and caused a lot of damage during a heavy rain.

She wasn't aware of water seeping into the garage Monday, but in Harvie's video Davis said she could see the water lapping at the garage door, which would have streamed in if anyone opened it.

"It's kind of scary," she said.

Davis said she'd like to see street signs in the area warning drivers that flooding occurs in the area during heavy rain, and surrounding apartment building owners should be sure tenants know to have flood insurance.

Halifax Water keeps a 'close eye' on all systems

Halifax Water spokesperson Jake Fulton said in an email Monday that in situations like this the heavy rain flows to this low point on the peninsula.

When asked if anything can be done to ensure this doesn't happen again, Fulton said their staff "keeps a close eye" on their systems and when a system is over capacity due to heavy precipitation, "flash surcharging can occur."