Placentia storm surge closes boardwalk
Town officials issue warning to residents to steer clear of beach area
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.
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.