The story of terrible destruction in Port Aux Basques NFL from Hurricane Fiona has been widespread in the news media. I read your particular story online in The National Post (Sept. 24, Exclusive: The heartbreaking story on the ground on Newfoundland’s battered coast). When I viewed pictures of the destroyed housing, I noted that they
were all very new.
Thus, I checked my archived pictures from 1973 (49 years ago) at which time I took Kodachrome Kodak 126 Instamatic pictures of the town while we approached on the Newfie Ferry. Surprise, surprise…there were no houses present near the shoreline. Houses dotted the top of the rock. My wife confirmed this saying, “Back then, it looked
like such a desolate town perched high on a rock.”
An interesting study might be comparing the town plan in 2022 to the town plan in 1973 using aerial photographs and town plans. Also check the town limit toward the shoreline in 1973 and ask, “Did the house built pre 1973 suffer damage in 2022?” I do believe this study would confirm my suspicion noted below.
Who was foolish enough to allow building so close to the shoreline in more recent times? Was it the Province? Was it the local government? And why would people even contemplate putting up these buildings without considering possible destruction and loss from powerful storms that have been rolling in for ages past? What should be done about this situation?
Determine the government authority or authorities that allowed the construction of buildings so close to the shoreline. Let them buy up the real estate, compensate the owners, clean up the mess and leave the landscape undeveloped. Forever.
This was done with the owners of buildings/real estate in Toronto’s Humber River floodplains back in 1954 when Hurricane Hazel devastated the region. It can work in Port Aux Basques.
The town must also redefine restrictions to development with adequate setbacks from the shoreline in their official plans.
Dieter Mueller, BA, CPIM, CPP