Trepassey mayor worried as town's breakwater fails: Power lines, water mains and homes at risk

Trepassey from across the harbour. Irish Loop photos.(THE TELEGRAM - ST. JOHN'S /KEITH GOSSE)

TREPASSEY, N.L. — Power and water lines in the small southeastern Newfoundland town of Trepassey are in grave danger of being destroyed after the town’s breakwater failed, says the town's mayor.

“There are 25 houses that’s low-lying. But the town’s main water and power lines are also exposed now,” says Mayor Rita Pennell.

Initially funded by the provincial and federal governments to the tune of almost $1 million, the new breakwater was completed just months ago, in June 2023.

“Just seven or eight months. And we had to pay the HST on it, which was probably $40,000. We’re a small town of around 400 people, we don’t have that kind of money to throw around all the time,” says Pennell.

Pennell says the trouble started when engineers contracted by the provincial government designed a breakwater that was inadequate to meet the needs of the community’s coastline.

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She says this disaster was a ticking time bomb.

Pennell says the town is in contact with the provincial and federal governments to come up with a solution.

“We will figure this out. There’s something that we can do to get this sorted. I’m not an engineer, but something can be done here," she added.

More to come

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Sanuda Ranawake is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous and rural issues.

Sanuda Ranawake, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram