Corner Brook woman happy to be back in her own home

Diane Crocker
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Joan Hanlon is back in her home on Valley Road, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, after flooding during a November rain storm caused a portion of the bank behind her house to give way.

CORNER BROOK  After three weeks of uncertainty, Joan and Len Hanlon will spend Christmas in their own home.

The couple left their house at 56 Valley Road on Nov. 28 after part of the bank behind it gave way into Bell’s Brook. The current caused by heavy rain that day swept a downed tree that had been across the brook for years further down the brook and then took down another large tree from the bank.

The couple say they were advised by staff with the City of Corner Brook to leave their home, however, the city maintains staff would not have the authority to do that.

“All I know, and Len knows, exactly what those workers said that morning. We know that we were told to get out of our house. Why would we leave?”

Not really knowing what to do the couple took refuge with a neighbour while they tried to find help to address the issue with the deteriorating bank.

But with no assistance available to them from the city or the province, on Wednesday the couple decided it was time to go home.

“Oh my God, I don’t know where to put everything,” said Joan Hanlon late Thursday afternoon. “I don’t know where I took it all from.”

She said the first night in the house was “a restless” one and she woke up Thursday morning not feeling well, not quite sure if it was from the stress of the last three weeks or if she was coming down with something.

“But we’re home,” she said.

And the focus was now on getting the house ready for Christmas.

A nephew was to drop by later in the evening to help with the tree and Hanlon was hoping that the weather wouldn’t prevent one of her sisters from making it home from P.E.I. for Christmas.

“I’m so glad to come home, my God, my God,” she said the emotion clear in her voice.

“I was raised in this house and there’s lots of memories.”

Hanlon’s father Stan Meade built the house in 1947 and it was there that he and his wife Mary raised their five boys and five girls.

“In our tiny little house,” said Hanlon. “But we all fit in.”

She said the big room on the back of the house had three beds in it for the girls and eventually her father built a bedroom in the basement for the boys.

Mr. Meade died in 1974.

Late in 2006 Hanlon came home to help care for her mother. She returned to St. John’s in March 2007, but by June had retired and relocated to Corner Brook to be with her mother. Mrs. Meade died in January 2008 and Hanlon and her husband remained in the house.

As for their future on Valley Road, Hanlon said “we’ll see what happens after Christmas.

“Because right now Len says ‘don’t worry about what we got to do,’” she said. “We’ll just get through Christmas and then in the new year see what we can do.”

Hanlon is hopeful things will be all right.

“The city is not saying anything about we can’t live here,” she said.

She said in the spring they’ll have to look at what can be done to stabilize the bank, either getting fill to put there or putting in a retaining wall.

“We got to do something to save our house,” said Hanlon. “It’s gonna be a big job for sure.”

In the meantime, though happy to be home she’s still concerned.

The bank behind her house is now covered in snow, but Hanlon said from an inside bathroom she can see where it gave way and looking down there’s still a big tree laying in the middle of the brook.

“Who’s responsible for that now?”

Geographic location: Corner Brook, 56 Valley Road, P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Edward Smith
    December 21, 2013 - 00:43

    Gee,,, glad to hear Joan and her husband have made it back to the house where Joan and her family spent so many years. Happy ending.,,, Glad the Star covered this story.