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It could be a month before Deer Lake can begin to address erosion along banks of the Humber River

Mayor Dean Ball is seen during Monday night's council meeting at the town hall in Deer Lake.
Mayor Dean Ball is seen during Monday night's council meeting at the town hall in Deer Lake. - Diane Crocker

With water levels on the Humber River continuing to fluctuate the town remains on constant alert to further erosion on the banks of the river along Pine Tree Drive and Riverbank Road.

Mayor Dean Ball visited with some residents on Pine Tree Drive on Sunday.

The couple takes daily measurements of the trees that are sinking on their property.

Some of those trees are moving three or four inches a day, said Ball following Monday night’s council meeting.

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Deer Lake getting better idea of seriousness of Humber River erosion problems

Deer Lake reviewing engineer's report on riverbank erosion

Farther up the street a lot of land on private property has cracks that have moved in 15-20 feet with new cracks showing over the last couple of days.

Ball said that land will go.

“It’s just a matter of time.”

He said in one section of the road the erosion is within 12 inches of the asphalt and in another it’s about eight feet from the town’s water and sewer line.

And the town has closed a part of the walking trail in the area due to the damage and concerns for safety.

Ball said the town is in contact with the province and its engineers on a daily basis as discussions continue on how to remediate the problem.

As he’s said previously there is some consideration being given to putting armour stone in the area most susceptible to the force of the river.

The town put blast rock in a section about 12 years ago and only got that amount of time out of it.

Armour stone should last longer, the mayor said.

He’s hoping that whatever the remedy is that the town will be prepared to go to work as soon as the water levels start to recede.

But that could still be a month away as the river continues to rise and fall.
“If we have any amount of rain that will speed erosion up,” he said.

As the town monitors the situation it remains prepared for the possibility that it may need to evacuate residents.

“We just want to reiterate that we are here for their support, if in the event that there has to be some movement we will have that in place ready to go on a minute’s notice.”

And he praised the residents for their efforts in keeping watch and notifying the town of any changes.

“The eyes on 24-7 are the best eyes we’ve got right now.”

The experience has also shown the town that it needs to have a way of being in immediate contact with residents in case of an emergency or other events that may affect them.

That’s why the town will be investing in an app that will give it immediate contact with all residents in the town that have a cellphone.

The purchase of the app, which is around $2,000, was announced during the council meeting.

Ball expects it will give the town about 98 per cent coverage and with it they will be able to put out updates and warnings about the erosion and also notify residents of other things like waterline breaks and outages.

Ball said getting the app up and running as soon as possible is a priority.

Monday night's Deer Lake council meeting was delayed in starting when Sanchez, the puppet, and his friend Dan Bursey stopped by to spread the word about Islaview Day, taking place on May 25. That's the day when the town will become the Town of Islaview to remember and honour Isla Short and to raise money for the Islaview Foundation. The foundation was created in Isla's honour by her parents, Michael and Sarah Short, to help other critically ill children in the province.

Monday night's Deer Lake council meeting was delayed in starting when Sanchez, the puppet, and his friend Dan Bursey stopped by to spread the word about Islaview Day, taking place on May 25. That's the day when the town will become the Town of Islaview to remember and honour Isla Short and to raise money for the Islaview Foundation. The foundation was created in Isla's honour by her parents, Michael and Sarah Short, to help other critically ill children in the province.

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