The city of Belfast estimates the damage caused by the massive storm that blew Maine with hurricane-force winds on December 23rd will cost $118,684 to repair.
The storm tore through public infrastructure, including Belfast’s boathouses, public boat piers, docks and trees. It also required city officials from various departments to be on deck to ensure safety during the storm and clean up afterwards.
Belfast is certainly not the first to deal with the aftermath of a powerful storm. A similar storm hit the city in October 2017, damaging boats, uprooting trees and causing power outages. They are occurring frequently and, combined with rising sea levels, are likely to cause even more flooding and damage to infrastructure.
City council members and Mayor Eric Sanders shared concerns at a city council meeting on Tuesday that climate change could cause more damage in the future.
“There will be more variations in storms and weather patterns, leading to more disruption,” Sanders said.
After the storm, the city of Belfast submitted a preliminary damage assessment to the Maine Emergency Management Agency. Belfast was hardest hit by debris removal and damage to parks, recreational facilities and other infrastructure in the city.
The city estimates it will cost $33,000 to remove the debris. Belfast also estimates it will cost him $39,000 to repair damage to docks, equipment, pilings and ramps.
Mayor Erin Herbig said the estimated cost of repairs is high, not only because of the actual damage the storm caused, but because of the time and resources it takes to repair.
The timeline for completing all repairs is not yet clear. City Hall has submitted a request for financial assistance to the city’s insurance company and her MEMA. Some work has already been completed, such as clearing debris, but Herbig said the city is waiting for the state to approve the request before completing all repairs.
“We are ready to work it out, but it comes at a cost,” she said.
Herbig’s report on the damage at its council meeting on Tuesday sparked debate over how much repairs the city will have to make as climate change causes more extreme weather events.
Councilor Mike Hurley said it would be counterproductive to rebuild certain infrastructure like fences after the Belfast boathouse had already been damaged in two other storms. rice field.
“We are going to get more of this kind of stuff and we have to take that into consideration when making decisions,” agreed Neal Harkness. “Continuing to rebuild it is… I think it’s stupid art without something more durable.”
As a result, the Council is re-examining the current state of public infrastructure, including the safety of the Belfast Boathouse, using more durable materials found in Belfast Harbour, and building taller boats. We are planning to rebuild the breakwater.
“[The breakwater is] It helps, but it doesn’t stop the crashing waves from crashing in,” Sanders said. “We need to plan our attack.”