Newfoundland town fears landslides will pull homes
Published Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:00PM EDT
DANIEL'S HARBOUR, N.L. - Some residents of this small town in western Newfoundland are worried another series of landslides will pull their homes into the ocean.
One evacuated house has already toppled into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, sliding down a 30-metre bluff that partially gave way Wednesday.
Alonzo House, one of the town's 350 residents, says the earth is still moving.
"I hope that everybody's safe around here, is all,'' said House. "It's not over yet by the looks of it.''
Fred Hollett, director of the province's Emergency Measures Organization, said four homes are in imminent danger of falling into the sea.
Some officials have suggested that warmer temperatures loosened clay soil in the cliff and migrating meltwater is washing away the earth at a rapid rate.
One former resident said the problem stems from a pond and wetlands not far from the cliff.
"The wetlands behind my house didn't have any way too drain,'' said Cyril Sheppard.
"I think that a lot of this is caused by that water seeping into the sub-soil and the waves on the other side just make it worse.''
Meanwhile, the only road leading to Daniel's Harbour -- the Northern Peninsula Highway -- has been blocked because of unstable conditions.
But traffic was moving along a newly created detour that was opened early Thursday.
Work crews will eventually build a more permanent bypass farther from the landslide area, but the makeshift road will have to do for now, said Cyril McCarthy, the regional director of highways.
"We moved off the (main) road and moved into the front lawns of people and they've been very receptive to let us do that,'' said McCarthy.
"We just came in and scraped their lawn off and put some gravel down . . . and now we're driving over it.''
A landslide six months ago forced the evacuation of at least four homes and a variety store. A state of emergency was also declared.
"We all knew this was going to happen after the first landslide back in October,'' said resident Enos Perry.
"Nine chances out of 10, I'd say it's going to get worse as well.''
Another slide Sunday prompted emergency officials to expand the danger zone.
Daniel's Harbour is about 200 kilometres north of Corner Brook, N.L.