Demolition work begins this week on 16 homes destroyed in Cape Breton floods

The wrecking ball will begin swinging this week on 16 homes destroyed in the historic Cape Breton flood of Thanksgiving Day 2016.

'Take them down, get it over with,' says former resident Wayne Martin

Wayne Martin and his wife completely renovated their home just 18 months before the flood. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Nearly a year after a flood inundated neighbourhoods in Sydney and Glace Bay, demolition is set to begin on 16 homes.

People driven from 14 houses in the Sydney area on Thanksgiving Day in 2016 have been contacted by the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to advise them of the pending work. A duplex in Glace Bay will also be brought down.

Ronald Mader, 69, came to the neighbourhood anticipating some action on Monday, but demolition work hadn't started. He's ready for his former home to be brought down.

"It's been a while now, so I think I'm slowly adjusted to it," said Mader. "Once it's gone, it's gone. It's inevitable, it's going to happen."

Mader has found a new home in an apartment complex for seniors.

Ronald Mader will watch as his home of 60 years is demolished this week. (George Mortimer/CBC)

Wayne Martin is remembering the good times he shared with his wife's family in their home on Royal Avenue.

"Beautiful little place," he recalled. "I always liked the place and when I finally got a chance to buy it, I was very happy to get it."

The Martins renovated the home about 18 months before the flood. 

They've since settled in a new home.

Municipal Affairs Minister Derek Mombourquette said it's not clear what the future use will be for the area where the soon-to-be demolished homes are located. (George Mortimer/CBC)

"As far as I'm concerned, it's over with. We're never getting back here," said Martin.

"Take them down, get it over with. We're done."

Municipal Affairs Minister Derek Mombourquette, who represents the riding that includes the flood zone, said officials from the Infrastructure Department are finalizing details with the company that won the $560,000 tender for the demolition.

"They're in the process of mapping out the demolition schedule and the work will all be progressing this week," he said.

Project timeline

The project is expected to be finished by the end of October, and that includes removing all materials from the sites and remediation of the properties.

Both Mader and Martin think the soon-to-vacant properties should be turned into parkland, but the municipality has not settled on a plan.

"After this process, we'll have a conversation with the city to determine what the future use of the area will be," said Mombourquette.


  • A previous version of this story said the municipality had declared the flooded area a no-build zone. In fact, the municipality has not yet settled on a plan for the area.
    Aug 23, 2017 11:02 AM AT

With files from Gary Mansfield