Coastal erosion threatens to cut off Chéticamp homes, ambulance station

People living on a dead-end coastal road in Chéticamp, N.S., are worried another big storm could cut them off from the rest of the community.

La Point du Havre Road veers off from the Cabot Trail, providing the only access to a couple dozen homes, marina, boat lift business and the local ambulance station.

Over the past few years, residents have watched as heavy rains and storm surges have eaten away at the shoreline, drawing it closer and closer to the shoulder of the road.

"We don't have a breakwater on the outside of the harbour, so any winds that come in out of the north-northwest, well, it just drives a surf," said resident Michel Soucy.

In September, Hurricane Dorian, which landed in Nova Scotia as a post-tropical storm with hurricane-strength winds, took out about a metre of soil in some places.

Michel J.S. Soucy

"There's concern by a lot of residents here that this road would not survive another Dorian," said Soucy.

"And we have no other way in or out should part of this road collapse into the water."

Soucy helped circulate a petition calling on the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal to assess the road as soon as possible, and to follow up with a plan to reinforce the shoreline.

Coun. Alfred Poirier said coastal erosion is a serious problem in Inverness County.

"This is not only Chéticamp," he said. "Pleasant Bay and Meat Cove, right up to the [Canso] Causeway, there's quite a few spots that would need very careful planning for erosion in the near future."

Poirier has asked Inverness council to send letters to both the provincial and federal governments.

Statement from province

In a written statement, Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal said it's aware of residents' concerns.

The department said while there are no safety concerns with La Pointe du Havre Road, shoreline roads in the area are being assessed. Repairs or mitigation work will be prioritized if needed.