N.B. businesses slowly reopen following historic flood
Residents of Saint John and other areas of New Brunswick continue to try to get back on their feet, six weeks after the historic flood of the Saint John River damaged properties across the province.
That includes a lot of small businesses that have been struggling to reopen in time for the peak summer season. But while businesses are working to reopen, many are still wondering how they’re going to pay the mounting repair costs.
In May the Saint John Marina had to be torn apart to repair flood damage. Six weeks later, business is finally bouncing back.
“It’s going to be something that’s on our mind for a long time, and I do encourage people not to give up,” says Marina manager Sarah Williams.
The Marina’s restaurant has reopened and more boats are starting to arrive at the dock. But they remain concerned about their neighbours who are still struggling to recover.
“We have a concert this upcoming Friday that’s going to raise money for the local flood victims in the area. I just hope the government doesn’t forget about us, because we do need to rebuild, but we need the government’s help to do that,” says Williams.
The province is offering a Disaster Assistance Program for homeowners and small businesses affected by the flood. Almost 3000 people have registered for the program.
On the Kingston peninsula, Harding’s Point Campground it is now welcoming visitors, after damage from the flood caused them to open late for the season.
While they are happy to have reopened, the repair work is still far from over.
“Some days I never get out of the loader, morning to night. We’re moving fill, rocks, topsoil- it’s just one thing after another. We just can’t catch up,” says campground owner Howard Heans.
Heans estimates he’s spent $30,000 rebuilding the property, and hopes that at least some of it will be reimbursed by the Disaster Assistance Program.
“Nobody knows what is actually going to be covered and they won’t tell you until you submit the bills,” explains Heans. “But you’ve already laid the cards on the table along with the money. What are you going to do then, if they don’t pay it?”
The government says some of the first cheques have already been issued. When the application is completed, EMO says processing should take four to five weeks.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.