Natural Resources


Date: Jan 16 2004

Location: The Beaches, White Bay

Easting: 512500

Northing: 5491300

Latitude: 49° 35' 00" N

Longitude: 56° 50' 00" W

Fatalities: 0

Injuries: 0

Source: Various news sources

The community of the Beaches, White Bay was swamped by the sea during a period of severe weather. The community was evacuated for two days. No major damage occured.

The Telegram web site Beaches swamped 1/17/04


Gladys Osmond of The Beaches in White Bay will be happy to be back in her own home tonight.

Osmond, a resident of the seaside community for the past 51 years, was evacuated from the home she shares with her husband Arthur after 10-metre waves bore down on the area, downing telephone poles and washing out the only road to the town.

Osmond said this is not the first time the small community has seen this type of storm - the same thing happened twice before, she said, both times in January - only this time it was worse.

Osmond said the storm began sometime overnight, with the worst part starting around 11 Friday morning.

"In our home, the sea was coming in and beating on our front door," she said.

"Arthur got out and nailed up the basement windows - he had to put plywood on all of them to save them. There were pieces of pavement and shoulder of the road coming right in our driveway."

At around 2 p.m., the Department of Works, Services and Transportation began evacuating each of the close to 40 homes in the community, but because of the deteriorated state of the road, some residents were forced to leave their cars behind.

"We have two machines but they were both in the garage and we couldn¹t get the garage doors open because there was so much debris washed in (next to) the doors," Osmond said. She and her husband left the community in a government pickup, which was forced to drive slowly behind a plow that was clearing debris from the road in order to make a passage through.

The Osmonds took shelter with Gladys¹ cousins in The Rooms, a nearby community, for the night. Although The Beaches residents were not allowed to move back in their homes until this morning, Osmond said an RCMP officer was kind enough to bring Arthur back to the house for a look, where he found the basement flooded but otherwise fine.

The province¹s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) was officially called in to assist with the evacuation, and a representative will travel to The Beaches early this morning to assess the damage done by the storm and to take photos of the damage, which will then be sent to Fred Hollett, EMO acting director and the province¹s fire commissioner.

Hollett said he has been in contact with residents as well as the mayor and fire chief of Hampden - the closest town to The Beaches - since the evacuation began.

"Typically what occurs when such situations happen within the province is that we are made aware of it and we begin the process of at least connecting with (those involved)," he said. "In this particular case we weren¹t trying to reach The Beaches itself because we knew the process of removing people was happening as we were speaking, but we had been in communication with the town of Hampden, just to make sure that the wheels were rolling adequately at the moment to deal with the residents of The Beaches."

Hollett said he was assured that each resident of The Beaches was quickly accommodated by family and friends, whom he praises for their help in the emergency situation.

The residents of The Beaches may have been the worst hit by the storm, but they weren¹t the only ones. Blizzard conditions were forecast over most of Newfoundland Friday, and windchills dipped as low as -20 C.

Meanwhile, the residents of The Beaches are hoping they won¹t see rough seas - at least on land - for a long time to come.

Osmond said when a storm caused an evacuation in the community in the early 1990s, some residents called upon government to resettle them, to no avail. This time, she¹s not sure what will happen.

"They¹ve got to move the people now, or build a road," she said. "I¹d say they¹ll build a road. For me and my husband - I wouldn¹t care (about leaving), but he wouldn¹t want to go, I know that.

"There¹s going to be major, major work to be done."

Reports from CBC web site:opens new window opens new window

Wild weather continues to plague Eastern Canada, U.S.

Fri, 16 Jan 2004

ST. JOHN'S - A winter storm has forced the evacuation of a small community at the base of Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula.

Rupert Roson stayed as long as he could to try and save his house. "We had two pumps going trying to keep it clear," he said, but the rain and snow was too much.

The RCMP says 40 homes have been evacuated in the area so far and all roads in southern Labrador are closed as well.

Beaches people anxious to go home

Jan 17 2004

St. John's - Officials with the province's Emergency Measures Organization were to decide Saturday if it's safe for people from the White Bay community, The Beaches, to go home.

Waves as high as 10 metres forced everyone out of their homes Friday afternoon. The waves were washing over the only road leading into the town and right up to the doors of many houses.

Most people were moved to nearby Hampden to wait out the storm.

Hampden Fire Chief Cal Wilton says EMO is due to check on the community on Saturday before allowing people to return to their homes.

Beaches' residents back home: cleanup begins

Jan 18 2004

St. John's - People from the White Bay community of The Beaches are back in their homes.

Waves as high as 10 metres forced everyone out of the town on Friday. Most people were moved to nearby Hampden to wait out the storm.

Police and the province's Emergency Measures Organization determined on Saturday that it was safe for people to return.

RCMP Const. Scott Morrison says some homes did sustain water damage, but there was no major structural damage to any buildings in the community.

Morrison says a lot of debris washed up on shore in the community, and he says crews are still working to repair the road leading to The Beaches.

Province iffy on Beaches relocation

Jan 20 2004

CORNER BROOK ‹ The provincial government says there has to be wide support for relocation from The Beaches before it would consider the idea.

Some residents want to be moved after they were driven from their homes by a fierce winter storm on Friday. Others say they want to stay put.

Resident Trudy Osmond wants to leave and hopes there will be government support for the move.

She fears for the safety of her four children.

"We could get another storm the week, we don't know. We might not get up to Hampden. We were lucky this time," she says.

Others like Art Osmond say they won't be leaving.

"The government won't give me enough money to pay for what I got here," he says.

The deputy minister of Municipal and provincial Affairs, Bob Smart, says there has to be consensus amongst the residents before relocation can go ahead.

"In order to get the process started, what we would first require is a request from the community with some indication that the request had very wide community support, virtually unanimous support in fact," he says.

Even then, it could be difficult to make the case for moving people from The Beaches.

Photographs used by permission, Cst. Desmond Burridge, Deer Lake District RCMP.

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