Nova Scotia

Pounding surf batters crumbling Cape Breton seawall

Heavy wind and pounding waves from Friday's storm in Cape Breton has further damaged the Gabarus seawall.
Flooding has caused significant damage to the community before. An earthquake in 1929 caused major flooding in Gabarus. Residents had to be taken out of their homes by boat. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Heavy wind and pounding waves from Friday’s storm have caused severe damage to an already buckling seawall in eastern Cape Breton.

The Gabarus seawall is the only thing standing between the Atlantic Ocean and the small fishing village.

Tim Menk, a member of a group called the Friends of Gabarus, said the storm's impact on the seawall was significant.

His group has been lobbying for repairs or replacement.

"Portions of the wall have been twisted and racked to a degree that they have never been before. Portions that used to be vertical are now leaning at a 55 degree angle forward towards the sea. When the waves come over each time and they break on top of it they pull it down further making it prone to breakage and failure sooner," he said.

The federal government built the seawall in the 1940s. The wooden structure was repaired in the 1980s, but it has been damaged by a number of storms since then.

Menk has called a community meeting for this Thursday, saying he's prepared to challenge Ottawa on the issue of ownership.

Neither the federal government nor the Nova Scotia government has agreed to fix or replace it.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it doesn't own the seawall and isn't responsible for fixing it.

Last year the Department of Natural Resources released a report stating that the repair or replacement of the seawall is an urgent situation.