New Brunswick business owner copes with flooding as communities reflect on flood

In the aftermath of heavy rainfall that lead to flooding in parts of New Brunswick, some businesses are hoping things return to normal soon to reduce the financial impact of flooding.

Wetmore’s Landscaping, Sod and Nursery Ltd. owner Rod Wetmore said it’s been a “slow-start” to the garden season.  Wetmore said he’s currently three weeks behind because of the rain and is hoping for good weather over the weekend.  He said the slow start “definitely impacts the bottom line.”

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Wetmore is also currently waiting for water levels to recede off his water-covered sod fields in Maugerville and Fredericton.

“The flooding itself impacts our sod production,” Wetmore said.

READ MORE: New Brunswick prepares for possibility of ‘serious’ flooding this weekend

He said the fields in Maugerville are at least three feet under water, with the fields in Fredericton a bit less water-covered.  He said he’s growing more concerned each day the water stays over the fields.

“The problem with that is that if it stays up for more than four or five weeks you start to get dieback on your sod, and grass doesn’t like being under water.   It doesn’t mind a bit of water, but if it’s under that long it can actually die off and start to rot,” Wetmore said.

He said the weather impacts approximately 25 per cent of the bottom line, by losing the first three early weeks on business.  He said that’s the case with most garden centres and nurseries across the province.

“The impact of losing our sod, that’s hard to tell until afterwards, but you’re looking at losing up to 50 per cent of your capital investment in there that won’t come back and that’s pretty key whether you have 20 acres in the ground or 200 acres in the ground,” Wetmore said.

READ MORE: Water levels to remain high but steady along St. John River Basin: New Brunswick EMO

He also said he could lose $600 worth of Echinacea plants if the ground doesn’t dry up soon.

Wetmore said he is waiting to see what the weekend weather brings, but said he’ll start to get more concerned if water levels are still high by Monday.

He said the water has been going down quickly, and he hopes that continues.

According to the province’s Emergency Measures Organization, water levels along the St. John river should continue to decrease over the weekend.

Village of Doaktown Flooding

Things in the Village of Doaktown are now back to normal following weekend flooding.

Doaktown Mayor Bev Gaston said when the Miramichi River gets high from the constant rain, the storm sewers get backed up.  He said water was coming up through the storm sewers and needed to be diverted into the nearby brook.

“Compared to the weekend it’s 100 per cent better, we’re sort of back to normal other than the rain,” Gaston said.  “The water’s down, the problem is over right now, we’re hoping it’ll stay that way.”

Doaktown flooding on May 7, 2017.

Courtesy of Darlene Carvell-Robichaud

He said the village’s emergency measures team that works through the fire department and members of the province’s Emergency Measures Organization worked together, along with police, ambulance and natural resoures and the department of transportaion worked together over the weekend.

Gaston said there was some concern over senior residents who are shut in, but said fire officials know who they are and where they are and are in constant contact with those residents.

He said one home had water in the basement, but he said he gave them a sump pump to help them get the water out.  He said luckily the only real impact to the village property was dirt which he said they are now busy cleaning up.

“[It’s] always a concern when you get water coming in like that, that’s sort of out of control,” Gaston said.

“The more concern was having to shutdown the highway if it got any higher and then of course it might [have] come into our fire hall so we had to move our equipment.”

He said he’s glad Route 8 didn’t need to be shutdown, with water levels not quite reaching the road.

The legion served as the village’s command centre and Gaston said village staff, fire crews and other volunteers started working Saturday night and worked “all through the night” until noon Sunday to get the water under control.  He said there were three fire trucks continuously pumping water.

“It was touchy for a while,” Gaston said. He said jersey barriers were put up to help direct the water into the nearby brook.

Gaston said council is currently looking at expanding one culvert by next spring and working with the province’s Department of Transportation to discuss a brook that crosses the road that’s on the provincial highway

He said there was no immediate danger but he wants to be proactive in case a similar situation happens again.

He said the flooding also brought people into the community to see the water levels, but added more people can make things complicated for first responders.

“When people come to look I know they mean well, but it’s hard for the first responders and those people to do their job when there’s a lot of traffic,” Gaston said.

He added the road didn’t have to be closed Route 8 going through the village.