AMHERST – If anything positive comes from the flooding in Truro, it’s hoped it will be a spur to action to upgrade the flood-prevention network on the Tantramar marshlands.
“The flooding in Truro is costing insurance companies and the government (of Nova Scotia) millions and millions of dollars in flood damage, so why don’t we spend a little bit and be proactive and prevent this from happening,” said local farmer, Doug Bacon.
Flooding on the Tantramar Marsh threatens more than the railroad and road systems running across the marsh.
“You’re looking at about 62 million for the windmills, there’s the agricultural land, and some of the residential homes in the town of Amherst could be in jeopardy too,” said Bacon. “And if it was really severe, we would be looking at (damage to) the well-shed area for the supply of water to the town.”
Bacon used to be on the Agriculture, Marshland Conservation Commission, until John MacDonell, the Nova Scotia Minister of Agriculture, fired him on July 5, 2011.
“Our job was to advise the minister on issues that should be addressed on the marshlands, dike-lands and abateau’s,” said Bacon. “I was quite vocal on that (commission), but by being vocal the minister decided that maybe I was too vocal, so he fired me off of that.”
Bacon said it was his job to be vocal.
“Right now, we’re seeing people in government who have no expertise in their field, and what the marshland commission was supposed to do was to try to inform political people of the concern of the dikes and marshes,” said Bacon. “If we did not inform the commission of those concerns and something happened, they could say, ‘well the commission never told me.’”
Bacon said working on flood prevention network is the best insurance policy.
“For the department to actually purchase an excavator and start topping these dikes isn’t unreasonable,” he said. “We can do it for highways, why can’t we do it to protect the infrastructure behind these diking systems. We have the expertise to set the grades and to start topping up these diking system.”
He fears his concerns will continue to fall on deaf ears.
“The minister is well aware of what needs to be done, because I told him. I just wonder if he has the clout at the cabinet table to get this done,” said Bacon. “It’s a shame, because when we see the damage done in the Truro area, that could have been done here as well.”