Mike MacKenzie, with the Atlantica Law Group in Windsor, was one of about two dozen people who attended a community meeting Sept. 6 at the home of Debby and Don Rose.
“I'd encourage people not to rush to conclusions. There aren't any conclusions at the moment and I think they just need to give it some time, hopefully the answers will come and the municipality will do what they should do,” said MacKenzie following the hour-long informal meeting.
The Roses live on Gabriel Road and their property abuts the Strickeys, whose home was damaged when the ground underneath it opened up on Sept. 3. The giant hole, which has been referred to as a sinkhole, has been described by the municipality as a localized, isolated incident.
Without more information on what caused the issue, residents are uneasy and want answers. MacKenzie said if he owned a property nearby, he'd also be concerned and asking questions.
Debby Rose, a long-time real estate agent in the area, said she hosted the meeting as a way for the neighbourhood to discuss their fears and concerns, and pose questions. Those questions will be directed to the Municipality of West Hants.
“I think it was important for all of the members of the community know that we're in this together,” said Rose in an interview.
“I want everyone to have access to the information as soon as it's available for us,” she continued. “I think for everyone to be kind of on their own, doing their own thing, they're not going to get the response that one single person, perhaps speaking on behalf of the entire group, will get.”
Rose planned to send a list of questions and concerns to the municipality the morning of Sept. 7.
During the meeting, people discussed what the area looked like before it was redeveloped, touched on some of the theories that are circulating out in the community, and stated they're concerned about safety as there has been a spike in traffic. The group heard that a child was nearly struck by a distracted driver on Sept. 6. Although the road says 'local traffic only,' more and more people have been driving by to get a glimpse of the home, which will eventually need to be demolished.
“At the end of the day, everyone's main concern is how is this going to impact our properties,” said Rose, adding that they're concerned not only value-wise but also about the underground stability of their properties.
“Those are the things we want to find out and we all feel the municipality are the ones to get those answers for us,” she said.
As for the speculation swirling about the disaster, Rose says it is not helping the Falmouth area.
“What's happened so far, in both the media and just people in general talking, is they are making assumptions, they're making comments without (being) fact-based. Those comments are what are going to hurt all of us in the end,” she said.
“We need to get the facts. We need to know exactly what has happened, why it happened and where we go from here.”