Montague streets turn red as barriers overwhelmed by heavy downpour

Steve Sharratt
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A worker installs straw bales late Wednesday morning in attempts to curtail the severe erosion that resulted at the former Montague high school from the major downpour of rain overnight.

MONTAGUE — The streets ran red here overnight as heavy rains broke protective barriers around the old high school demolition site and carried a slew of silt into the river.

Almost 50 mm of rain poured down on the Island overnight Wednesday and the protective barriers used at the construction site on Fraser and Rink streets were overwhelmed.

“There must have been three or four inches of soil on the roadway running down in front of the Dynasty (restaurant),’’ said resident Harvey MacDonald, who was out for a walk around 8:30 a.m.

The rain was pounding down and the wind was raging up to 80 kms an hour before it all changed to almost 4 cm. of snow.

MacDonald said the contractor who tore down and cleaned the job site of the old regional high school did good work and finished up a few weeks ago. But the installation of protective silt barriers and loose straw that followed was inadequate to cope with the heavy deluge of rainfall.

The old regional high school site is one of the highest points in the municipality.

“I’m not blaming, I just think it’s a shame and could have been stopped,’’ he said. “The rain was so heavy it just created a pond at the one end of the site (next to the intermediate school) and it poured out onto the road.”

The muddy river turned the road red as it snaked downhill on Rink St. to the nearest town drainage pipe which leads to the river. The river, which turns crimson after a heavy rain, was now a flaming rust coloured ribbon of water.

Around 11 a.m. workers were summoned from a private construction firm to brace the broken siltation barriers with straw bales.

Provincial offices were closed Wednesday due to the storm but town officials contacted believed the environment department was monitoring the barrier effort.

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  • fitting reminder
    December 05, 2013 - 07:18

    MRHS did a lot of good things for the people of the area this is a good reminder of a good institution and how it spread itself throughout the community