'We need help now': N.B. man worries he'll lose his home to riverbank erosion

A Keswick, New Brunswick man is worried that the next big rainstorm could see him lose his home.

Bruce Hughes and his wife have lived in their home for 30 years. The landscape of their property has changed dramatically in that time, with flooding in recent years swallowing up land up to 20 feet at a time.

“From the beginning of time, people have lived on the water. It was always the dream. Now it’s a nightmare,” says Hughes.

As water erodes the riverbank that has already destroyed their garage and most of their backyard, they are afraid their home is next.

“At night has been the worst, because you hear huge chunks of land, the size of your vehicle, dropping off and shaking the ground,” says Hughes. “Huge trees going over, and the dog is barking. It’s a lot of sleepless nights in the Spring.”

Hughes says he’s been looking for help, but hasn’t received any answers from the province yet.

“Anytime there’s an inch, two inches, three inches, four inches of rain, we’re losing massive amounts of land,” says Hughes. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell them for the last couple weeks. We need help now.”

Hughes says he isn’t looking for a handout, but thinks the New Brunswick government should help, as it is responsible for a nearby road, which may be impacted as well.

“I applied in 2018 to disaster relief for help. They turned us down. Our insurance hasn’t helped because the criteria is water in your basement,” says Hughes. “Everyone I’ve talked to from any government, or any agency says ‘you’ve got the have water in your basement’, and my line to them is ‘if I get water in my basement, I’m going to be fishing from my couch’.”

Some mornings, Hughes wakes up at 3 a.m. to monitor his water levels.

“I’ve waited since 2018, and I can’t afford to do it on my own anymore. So here’s the solution: work with me, or we end up having to walk away, and you’re stuck with everything,” says Hughes.

The MLA for the area provided a statement to CTV Atlantic, saying he believes it is a broader issue that must be looked at.

“I believe this is an example of a broader issue that we must look at. This might include any programs that can be made available through our federal government, possibly crossing several departments,” reads the written statement from Richard Ames, MLA for Carleton-York.