Nova Scotia

Rural N.S. community cut off after rain

The rural community of Meat Cove, N.S., has been cut off from the rest of Cape Breton after heavy rain damaged the only road in.

The community of Meat Cove, N.S., has been cut off from the rest of Cape Breton after heavy rain damaged the only road in.

The rural community at the northern tip of the province could be evacuated if repairs to the road take too long, the Emergency Measures Organization said.

Meat Cove resident Allen Bonner said a night of rain and high winds uprooted trees and washed out the bridges on the only road to Meat Cove, an unincorporated area at the northern tip of Cape Breton.

In some spots, rushing water washed out chunks of the road about nine metres wide, he said. About 100 residents and a group of tourists have been stuck in the community.

"One guy left last night with an RV when the rain got heavy, but he got by this bridge that was out — it wasn't out at that time — but the next one was, so he's stuck about a mile up the road," Bonner said.

The water buildup seriously damaged the Salmon River Bridge, which is closed. Trees fell into the river during the storm, causing further buildup of the water.

Emergency crews arrive

Provincial transportation officials, RCMP, military and EMO officials were all in the area Sunday.  

Transportation officials say it will take until Monday to figure out how long it will take to repair the bridges. Until then, supplies are being ferried into the village from neighbouring communities.

"We would ask people to use caution in the area when they're driving," said Cathy MacIsaac, a spokesperson with the Department of Transportation.

"We will do an assessment and determine what needs to be done to make sure the roads are passable and any repairs to bridges. I understand the water is still quite high in some areas there."

MacIsaac said the Salmon River Bridge must be analyzed first.

"It will need to be structurally sound to accommodate heavy equipment that would be needed to do further work up the road, so that will need to be addressed first before we can get to doing any significant work on the other pieces," she said.  

Showers were in Monday's forecast for northern Cape Breton.

911 service still available

Michelle Perry of the EMO said even though Meat Cove is cut off from the rest of the island, it still has access to emergency services.

"If a resident or someone visiting the area needs emergency assistance, please call 911 as normal," she said.

Perry says if anyone needs to be taken to a hospital or clinic, the military will help out.

"They have agreed to provide air assistance if required," she said. "We've also been working with the RCMP, who have boats, as well as local fishermen, who are offering their assistance as well."

Perry said depending on how long repairs to the bridges and roads take, EMO officials could order an evacuation of Meat Cove.

A decision will be made after engineers have assessed the situation.

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