Nova Scotia

N.S. retiree not diggin' sinkhole in yard

A Glace Bay man with a gaping hole in his yard is getting a history lesson in illegal mining he says he can't afford.

A Glace Bay man with a gaping hole in hisyardis getting a history lesson in illegal mining he says he can't afford.

Bernard Burt discovered a small hole in his yard earlier this week, just a few steps away from his front door.

An old mine shaft caved in this week, leaving a deep hole in Bernard Burt's Glace Bay yard. ((CBC))
It quickly became a deep pit, dropping down about eight metres. The hole leads to an abandoned cavern that extends out under the road in front of his house on Dominion Street.

"Someone's gonna get hurt if that road collapses," Burt said Thursday, as cars whizzed by. "No one is even aware of it.

The cavern marks the spot where someone once illegally extracted coal in a secret pit. It was a common practice years ago, said Burt, a retiree.

"Lots of pits around here, all up and down this road here, but this is the first time any collapse in this yard," he said.

Bernard Burt's neighbours explored the cavern. ((Courtesy of Jim Newell) )
Cape Breton's coal-mining past continues to haunt the area. In the last decade, a young child fell into an old pit, several houses sank and a school was demolished after its foundation cracked.

Across the street from Burt's house, Jim Newell said he saw a sign last year of this particular coal pit.

"There was a 12-inch hole in the road there," he said. "I called the municipality and they just come up and put gravel in it and asphalt over it."

Municipality says hole is Burt's responsibility

Burt and his neighbours fear someone will get hurt. ((Courtesy of Jim Newell) )
Newell crawled into the hole in Burt's yard and explored the cavern.

Burt said the Cape Breton Regional Municipality told him the sinkhole isinhis yard so it'shis responsibility.

He has called a contractor.

"I can't afford to pay for it,"Burt said. "Probably talking 50 to 100 friggin' truckloads to try to fill it, because they have to dig it all up to see what's there."

No one from the municipality was available to comment.