By Chris Pickup
The Hallowe’en storm that hit Thursday night was worthy of the date as high storm water surges and scary winds trashed Haldimand’s Lake Erie shoreline, smashing break walls and leaving residents literally shaking in their residences as its fury shook the ground.
A very upset Bill Cook had to evacuate his property Thursday evening. His breakwall and shoreline were gone. As of evacuation time he figured his cottage, which he bought seven years ago, was probably going to go as well.
As of Friday morning he had no idea whether he was homeless, left with nothing but the clothes on his back. He called his local councillor asking what he was supposed to do now, but couldn’t get any answers.
“I guarantee there’s a lot of damage out there,” he said.
Lakeshore resident Randy Desnoyers says conditions are “horrible”.
Thursday night he reported 15 to 20 ft rolling waves on shore, water spraying over the Conservation hill to the beach. “That’s 75 feet down and 300 feet in. Most break walls have failed as far as I can see and I’m sure the good ones will follow later in the night. My beach is gone, stairs will be gone soon. Mother Nature sure is pissed off tonight.”
By Friday morning he had lost 50 feet In depth on his shoreline. His residence roof was damaged, eaves and downspouts gone. A picnic table was tossed to the side of his yard.
“The neighbouring Conservation area is a large cliff into water now with no hill,“ he added.
The county reports the Lakeshore Road is badly damaged, and there is significant shoreline damage, especially at Featherstone Point.
There have been calls from lakeshore residents concerned with ongoing damage to shorelines by super storm surges in recent years, for help in dealing with the high personal costs of keeping their properties from being damaged through no fault of their own.
Since early 2018 residents have been pleading with the county for help with break walls, arguing the historically high lake levels have chipped away the shoreline leaving them with damaged property they could not afford to fix.
Unfortunately residents have been kicked back and forth between the county, conservation authorities and the province who are arguing whose responsibility it is. There have been public meetings, plans for shoreline mapping, promised consultations between all three authorities but no concrete plans for actual aid for the beleaguered homeowners.
Residents all had permits to build, pay high taxes on their property, built very expensive break walls to stabilize their land, and are in no way responsible for the disaster that now is Lake Erie shoreline.
There is a lot of grief out there, and a lot of anger too. The county spends tax money like water on such things as a fancy new municipal building but leaves those who pay the freight swinging in the wind when disaster strikes. There didn’t even appear to be any advertised provision for those who had to leave their homes for a shelter for them to stay.
Feel free to add your comments and any pictures of damage to this posting and let’s put some pressure all levels of government to do something positive for a change.