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Oxford sinkhole mystery could soon be solved

If funding comes through in the next month, It is hoped that geophysical testing in and around the Oxford Lions Park will provide conclusive evidence that the park is safe and can re-open at some point.
If funding comes through in the next month, It is hoped that geophysical testing in and around the Oxford Lions Park will provide conclusive evidence that the park is safe and can re-open at some point. - Dave Mathieson

OXFORD, N.S. – Has the Oxford sinkhole stopped its expansion or does it plan to renovate the town’s landscape even further? That question could soon be answered but it all depends on funding.

“We have funding applications in the works, and within four weeks we should really know a whole lot more than we know right now,” said Oxford mayor Trish Stewart. “But I want to assure the public that the sinkhole has not been forgotten about. We’re still moving forward and still looking for that money.”

The money they’re still looking for is $68,500, which goes on top of the $68,000 of funding the province has already provided, for a total of $136,500.

One hundred thousand of that will pay for geophysical seismic testing needed to help determine what is beneath the ground near the Oxford Lions Park sinkhole and the surrounding area, which includes depressions found on the Trans-Canada Highway near the sinkhole.

“This section of highway is in the middle of a cluster of older sinkholes which adds to the concerns about the depression in the highway,” said Bill Casey in a facebook post.

Casey, who is the MP for Cumberland-Colchester, says that when it comes to finding funding for the geophysical seismic testing, “It is safe to say that we are leaving no stone unturned in this effort. It is very important to all of us that we find out what is going on underground.”

The section of the Trans-Canada Highway where the depressions can be seen are located on the westbound lane. They are adjacent to a rock wall that sits in the ditch at the end of the westbound off-ramp from Oxford.

At least one of the depressions appeared not long after the sinkhole opened up at the Oxford Lions Park.

“People who worked on the highway when it was built have contacted us to tell us that, at the time of construction, they experienced smaller holes in the area suddenly appearing,” said Casey. “In any case, there is good reason to check this out and we are all determined to see that happen.”

Once funding is secured, it’s hoped that geophysical testing will start soon after.

The remaining $36,500 left over after testing expenses is being used for expenses already incurred; $1,500 for a proof of concept radar test, $6,000 for a preliminary report, and close to $30,000 for safety and security at the Oxford Lions Park sinkhole site.

“Public safety is always our main concern,” said Stewart.

Like everybody in Oxford, Stewart hopes the sinkhole is done wreaking havoc.

“Hopefully we’ll see this beautiful landmark area in Oxford re-open.”

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