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Video: Oxford Lions remove playground equipment from park as sinkhole grows

A sinkhole in the Oxford Lions Park is continuing to grow and people are being reminded to stay away from the barricaded area as it's still a developing situation. - Shaun Whalen Photography photo
A sinkhole in the Oxford Lions Park is continuing to grow and people are being reminded to stay away from the barricaded area as it's still a developing situation. - Shaun Whalen Photography photo - Contributed

OXFORD, N.S. - “It’s the saddest day in the history of the Oxford Lions Club.”

That was the only way Don Christie could describe his emotions after playground equipment valued at more than $140,000 was dismantled and moved out of the club’s park because of an ever-increasing sinkhole.

“It’s just so sad,” Christie said. “The sinkhole is not getting closer to the equipment, but EMO advised us that if we didn’t get to it today we might not be allowed to get to it tomorrow,” Christie said Sunday.

For now, the equipment, that was put in place about a decade ago, is sitting on flatbed trucks at a nearby farm and even if the situation stabilizes at the park it’s doubtful it would be put back into the park until next spring at the earliest.

“The surface is basically ruined so we would have to redo that before we ever put the equipment back in place, if we can,” Christie said.

With news students from the eight-year-old Oxford Regional Education Centre will have to start the new school year in Pugwash because of structural concerns, Christie said it’s a sad time for the youth of Oxford.

Never in his wildest dreams did Christie imagine the sinkhole would get as big as it has, although he remains optimistic it will not impact the nearby community centre.

“All we can do now is wait,” he said. “The park is closed and fenced off and is being guarded by security.”

Cumberland EMO issued an update Sunday saying the hole is still growing.

“The hole continues to grow from yesterday’s measurements and throughout the morning during our time here. New cracks are developing in the pavement and as far away as the playground this morning,” EMO coordinator Mike Johnson said in a news release.

Johnson said more cracks are forming and existing cracks are expanding. More earth is falling into the hole and the size of the hole increased – mostly to the northeast – by a metre to the northwest/southeast and 53 centimetres to the northeast/southwest.

TIMELINE

On Saturday, the hole edge was 6.09 metres from the parking lot; Sunday it was 5.54 metres.

The hole is now more than 100 feet in diameter.

“We continue with daily measurements to monitor the progression of the hole and cracks. Some of the most recent cracks are showing half way up the parking lot toward the entrance. Having said this it needs to be noted that these are minor hairline cracks,” Johnson said.

The sinkhole has been growing steadily since a small hole got dramatically bigger on Aug. 19.

Johnson said contact with Nova Scotia EMO will take place to have a geological engineer attend the site.

He said concerns by some residents about other sinkholes in the area have been investigated and determined to be questionable and of no consequence.

Energy and Mines along with EMO and Lands and Forests continue to meet on a daily basis to monitor.

“We continue to ask for the public’s patience and attention when driving or walking in the area of the entrance to the Lions Club due to increase traffic and safety concerns,” he said. “As of today, there remains no risk to infrastructure and people are being kept out of the area by 24-hour security. Reassessment will be conducted each morning with a view of risk to the following morning.”

darrell.cole@amherstnews.ca

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

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