Fast-expanding Nova Scotia sinkhole sucks up trees

Scientists and officials aren’t sure what is causing the sinkhole to grow or how fast it might expand

A small Nova Scotia town is urging public caution as officials scramble to assess a large, fast-expanding sinkhole that has sucked up trees and picnic tables.

An Oxford, N.S., park has been roped off while geologists and emergency management officials assess the stability of the surrounding area, which includes a community centre, gas station and a Tim Hortons.

“It’s just amazing what Mother Nature can do,” said Linda Cloney, public relations officer for the town.

Town officials say the hole grew considerably overnight.

The sinkhole was measured on Tuesday morning at around 34 by 29 metres — about five metres wider than the previous night’s measurements.

Cloney said stability around the growing sinkhole is one of the biggest safety concerns, as scientists and officials still aren’t sure what is causing the sinkhole to grow or how fast it might expand.

“It really is a day by day, unpredictable event,” said Cloney.

RELATED: B.C. woman who was caught in mudslide now suing for negligence

By Tuesday morning, the edge of the hole had expanded to the pavement of the Lions’ Club parking lot.

Pictures from the scene show 10-metre trees dropping into dark water and immediately disappearing.

Geologists and emergency management officials say they have no idea how deep the hole is.

Last week, a 40-foot spruce tree was sucked into the hole.

Playground equipment at Oxford and Area Lions Parkland was dismantled and moved to storage, as officials were unsure as to whether it would be safe to remove them in the coming days.

Security is on site around the clock to keep people out of the park while assessment work is ongoing.

The town is keeping security measures in place until the geologists’ report on the site can offer a better picture of how stable the surrounding area is.

“We’re letting it do its thing, watching and monitoring, and also learning from this,” said Cloney.

Staff at the nearby gas station and Tim Hortons said they are still open for business, though the massive hole can be seen from the coffee shop’s window.

The growing natural phenomenon has also attracted a growing number of visitors.

RELATED: Crews work to fix sinkhole on Highway 1

Cloney said the sinkhole has become a bit of a tourist attraction as people drive in for a glimpse, resulting in a few minor “fender benders” over the last few days.

“People are stopping in, they’re curious. You hear of sinkholes but this one is rather large,” Cloney said.

The road by the park is usually a busy spot for cars, as people pass through on their way to the nearby Pugwash beaches. The county exhibition is also in town, drawing more visitors than usual.

The uncertainty of the sinkhole’s expansion has also meant a number of disruptions to events at the Lions Club hall.

The Oxford Area Lions Club told The Canadian Press in a Facebook message that closing the hall has meant cancelling a wedding, a family function, and likely Girl Guides meetings in September. Other safety meetings, fundraisers, children’s programming, and flu shots will be up in the air if the hall remains inaccessible.

Cumberland Regional Emergency Management posted a video to Facebook Tuesday, showing a large chunk of earth breaking off and falling into the sinkhole, urging the public to stay away from the park.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

In health care, it does take a team

Julie Lowes is the manager at the Queen Victoria Hospital in Revelstoke

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: A sunny Easter Sunday

Temperatures will peak at approximately 20C region-wide

Revelstoke ladies make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Revelstoke Golf Club open weeks early

The club didn’t open until May last year

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Okanagan township’s open burning winds down

Spallumcheen reminds residents of regulation changes as open burning concludes April 30

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Vernon photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Most Read