SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Floodwaters in southern New Brunswick continued to rise Saturday as homeowners in the Saint John area packed walls of sandbags in an effort to hold back the waves.
Kevin Whalen was stacking sandbags behind his son’s home near Dominion Park in Saint John Saturday — adding to the 2,200 sandbags already in place.
“All around the house we’ve made different dikes. It’s a work in progress,” he said.
A gravel berm and the wall of sandbags were holding back water that was about a metre deep, while high winds created waves that crashed against their defence.
Whalen said there had been a steady stream of volunteers who have helped stack sandbags or bring food.
He said even Premier Brian Gallant had been there the day before.
“He was really working. He helped me move a deep freeze,” Whalen said.
“It’s unbelievable how people have come together.”
Dave O’Brien, a city employee in Saint John echoed the comments about volunteers as he filled sandbags at a works department depot a few kilometres away.
“It makes a huge difference. The whole community is coming together. It’s great to see,” O’Brien said.
Even young children were joining their parents to help fill sandbags for people who needed them.
“I’ve filled four so far,” said young Macullam Stevens.
Greg MacCallum, director of the province’s Emergency Measures Organization, has urged people in at-risk areas to evacuate their homes as water levels are expected to rise over the weekend.
The Saint John River hit 5.43 metres above sea level in Saint John on Friday, and EMO said it would likely exceed that on Monday when forecasts say it could reach 5.9 metres — 1.7 metres above flood stage.
By Friday afternoon, the entire ground floor of the Saint John Marina, about 5,000 square feet, was already covered in water.
The Canadian Red Cross says 309 households — or 747 people — have registered to say they have evacuated from their homes.
Meanwhile, Emergency Measures officials in Fredericton said Friday it appeared the flood waters on the Saint John River have crested, but warned they will remain high into next week.