The problem is getting worse, but there might be some help on the way for property owners at Bottomless Pond.
The constituency office of Premier Dwight Ball, who represents the district of Humber-Gros Morne, has confirmed it has requested the Deer Lake Underwater Recovery Team’s help in trying to assess the flooding problem at the pond.
The pond is believed to have some sort of subsurface drain which has become blocked with debris from heavy rainfall and runoff from spring melt. Water levels in the pond have recently risen by nearly 20 feet, inundating several cabins located near its shoreline.
According to Jason Young, Ball’s executive assistant, the Deer Lake Underwater Recovery Team will be bringing its side-scan sonar equipment to the pond next week. It will use the equipment to investigate below the pond’s surface and try to see if there is any course of action that might help alleviate the flooding.
Young said the work will be done in conjunction with the provincial water resources management division of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment.
Mark Hoyles, who has about three feet of water inside his cabin, is among the cabin owners worried about the fate of their properties and who hope to soon get some good news regarding Bottomless Pond.
Last week, he placed a marker near the water on the road leading to the cabin and took a picture of it. A photo taken a week later, following another big rainfall, seems to indicate the water has risen another four inches in the last week or so.
Hoyles can’t actually get directly to his cabin, unless by boat, as the road to it is also under water.
As the water rises, so does his frustration level. He would like to get into the cabin to better assess the damage and see what can be salvaged.
He said his insurance company has already indicated it won’t be covering any overland flooding at the remote location. Hoyles is bracing himself for a loss valued at anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000.
Fortunately, his shed — which is built higher up than his cabin — and its contents are still dry.
While the actual location of the subsurface drain is a mystery, so is what happens to any water that does get drained out of the pond. Hoyles said, if the pond does start to drain again, there could be problems somewhere else, depending on where it comes out.
Last week, Hoyles received his annual land lease fees bill from the provincial government for his cabin property at Bottomless Pond.
He thinks anyone affected by this particular flooding situation should get an exemption this year.
The Western Star asked the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources if there are any mechanisms through which people such as the flooded-out cabin owners of Bottomless Pond can be exempted from paying Crown land fees. No response was provided as of deadline Friday.