On Friday, February 2, my family and I decided to have dinner at Dreamcatchers Restaurant in Antigonish.
There were places to park on Main Street, but the town failed to remove the snow banks or clear the storm drains, so it would have been difficult and dangerous for my wife and daughter to exit the car on the passenger side. As a result, we parked in the large public lot behind Main Street. There was no sign indicating that the lot was closed, nor was there any evidence of large puddles of water.
A few minutes after we sat down to eat, the custodian of Kirk Place came running into the restaurant and announced that the river bank had suddenly overflowed and the cars parked behind Main Street had been flooded.
Mike Knocton helped me wade knee-deep through frigid water and huge blocks of ice to retrieve several important items from our family car. At one point, I lost my footing amid the slippery ice chunks and fell into the water. My first instinct was to try to move the car, but Mike, who is an experienced car appraiser, cautioned me not to attempt to start the car, because that could have deployed the airbags and been fatal at close range.
Mike and Roseanne MacEachern of Dreamcatchers generously lent me some dry clothes and gave me an opportunity to finish my dinner before driving our family home. We are deeply grateful to both of them for their thoughtfulness and kind assistance.
The town should have taken due diligence by monitoring the situation more carefully, posting warning signs, and closing off the parking lot. The town should also have removed the snowbanks along Main Street and cleared the storm drains.
Because of the town’s inaction, 23 cars were needlessly lost, and Main Street, through no fault of its own, has yet another reason to fear loss of business; customers will not feel safe parking in the lot behind Main Street because the town is not monitoring potential floods more attentively.