Pla­cen­tia storm surge closes board­walk

Town of­fi­cials is­sue warn­ing to res­i­dents to steer clear of beach area

The Compass - - NEWS -

Pla­cen­tia Mayor Wayne Power spent most of the night on Dec. 4 near the Beach Road area of the town, mon­i­tor­ing a se­vere storm surge.

On that af­ter­noon town of­fi­cials were pre­par­ing for high winds and po­ten­tial flood­ing af­ter En­vi­ron­ment Canada is­sued a se­vere wind warn­ing for the area.

The town is lo­cated in an in­let along the edge of the At­lantic Ocean. An area, Power told The Com­pass Dec. 5, that has been known for flood­ing in the past.

Power said the prepa­ra­tion was not enough for what ac­tu­ally took place.

Flood­ing and large waves forced de­bris from the beach over the lo­cal board­walk and onto Beach Road. The board­walk it­self re­ceived ex­ces­sive dam­age, los­ing nu­mer­ous planks.

Part of the beach that acted as a sup­port un­der­neath the board­walk eroded away, leav­ing the planks un­sup­ported, Power said.

Five or six homes were also flooded dur­ing the surge, but Power ex­plains it was only base­ments and crawl spa­ces to his knowl­edge — liv­ing ar­eas were not af­fected.

The RCMP, lo­cal fire depart­ment and the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works were called when the storm surge be­gan.

Po­lice of­fi­cers and the fire depart­ment helped with crowd con­trol, set­ting up bar­ri­cades and keep­ing the pub­lic away from the area.

“Peo­ple were com­ing out to see what was hap­pen­ing. It was very dan­ger­ous and frus­trat­ing,” Power said, not­ing in sit­u­a­tions such as the one last night, peo­ple should stay clear un­til it is safe.

This area of town is also where Laval High School and the Col­lege of the North At­lantic are lo­cated. Power said schools opened and classes be­gan on time the next morn­ing.

The lo­cal fire depart­ment was on scene un­til 5 a.m. try­ing to get the road pre­pared to re­open. The board­walk, how­ever, was not so lucky.

“Our pri­or­ity is the safety of the pub­lic,” Power said. “We are ad­vis­ing the pub­lic to stay clear of the board­walk area.

“Any res­i­dents im­pacted (by flood­ing), we have cleanup kits here at the town hall.”

An as­sess­ment was un­der­way late last week to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of the dam­age. Power did say the board­walk will likely have to wait un­til af­ter win­ter.

Photo by Tom O’keefe/spe­cial to The Com­pass

A sec­tion of the board­walk in Pla­cen­tia was se­verely dam­aged dur­ing a storm surge Dec. 4, lead­ing to the town is­su­ing a warn­ing not to use it.

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