© Geraldine Brophy
Joan Hanlon is seen outside her home on Valley Road Tuesday.
CORNER BROOK — Joan Hanlon is growing increasingly frustrated as each agency she turns to seems to be deflecting responsibility.
More importantly to the woman who, along with her husband Leonard, has been out of her Corner Brook home since the bank gave away next to her home during the flooding of Nov. 28, nobody is providing any help.
She first turned to the City of Corner Brook, whose workers were on the scene the morning a tree fell and the land around it slid due to the current of a brook next to her property. There is some discrepancy about exactly what those workers told her, but she says she was told to immediately evacuate her home for safety reasons.
Her house is now just feet from the steep embankment overlooking the brook, and her basement concrete steps just inches away from the drop. She and her husband are staying with their nextdoor neighbour, afraid to return to their home.
Mayor Charles Pender said his public works staff does not have the authority or expertise to tell a person to leave their home. He said the city is not responsible for the damages to the Crown land and that staff has contacted the Department of Municipal Affairs and provincial representatives about the situation.
Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent was in Corner Brook Friday. He said department staff monitored the flooding in Corner Brook closely, and were aware of Hanlon’s situation. They also contacted the Department of Environment and Conservation, he said.
“The best advice I can offer, at this point, is for Mrs. Hanlon to stay in touch with the City of Corner Brook, and if, at some point, the city wishes to apply for municipal capital works funding, for instance, to do some work in that area, that is certainly something we will consider, with all the other capital works requests we do receive,” Kent said.
It is common for the Department of Environment and Conservation to do flood zone assessments and flood risk mapping in such areas.
“There is mapping in place that the Department of Environment and Conservation has done along the bodies of water in question,” he said. “It is quite common to have a right-of-way, a buffer zone, along bodies of water.”
Hanlon said she wrote Kent again Tuesday morning, expressing her urgency in hearing a response.
“We pay our taxes and our insurance,” she said in her letter. “We help people all over the world, but we need help here now too.”
Now, almost two weeks later, Hanlon is still waiting for somebody to tell her she can or cannot return to her home.
“It’s very frustrating,” she said. “Oh My God, it is driving me insane, and Len is sick as a dog.”
Hanlon feels as though she is being ignored, or nobody is willing to accept responsibility. She at least wants closure before deciding exactly what she has to do.
Nobody was made available following a request for an update from the City of Corner Brook Tuesday.