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On the evening of Sept. 4, Rebecca Aylward stands where there was once a section of a low berm near her home on Lakeshore Drive. The berm was breached on Aug. 29 by high winds and high water on Great Slave Lake.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

A homeowner on Hay River’s Lakeshore Drive is worried for her property after a section of a low berm in the area was washed away on Aug. 29.

On that evening, high water on Great Slave Lake was driven by north winds onto the shoreline.

The berm has virtually disappeared in front of the home of Rebecca Aylward.

“I feel totally vulnerable,” she said. “You can see where the tonnes of sand were deposited as a result of the waves coming into the yard. It got within three feet of the house. And it was pretty terrifying, especially once it got dark and you couldn’t see anymore.”

A little water entered the basement of her home, she noted. “But we were able to contain it very quickly.”

There was no damage to the house, which is home to four people.

Now, Aylward is hoping that some government agency will rebuild the section of the berm that has failed.

She wants to know who built the berm and who would be responsible for repairing it.

As far as she knows, it was built in 1981.

“I would love to see it rebuilt,” said Aylward, as she looked over Great Slave Lake on a breezy Sept. 4. “I would love to see some temporary measures taken because, as you can see, the waves are coming up quite high with this bit of wind.”

She noted the berm, which she described as kind of like a lump in the ground about two or three feet high, is outside her property line.

The missing section of berm has been replaced by large pieces of driftwood and rocks. And a sandy beach, which once extended about five metres into the lake, is now underwater.

Until the berm is repaired, Aylward is worried by the prospect of more high winds in the fall over Great Slave Lake, where water levels have been high all summer.

“Now I’m worried,” she said. “I hear the waves. It used to make me happy, but now it makes me nervous.”

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Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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