SALMON RIVER - After having his storage units flooded out twice in as many years, Mark Patton decided it was time to head for higher ground.
"When I got the phone call (from the Salmon River Fire Brigade) that my containers were floating ... I just couldn't believe it," the owner of Unlimited Self Storage said this week, regarding the recent flood that swept through Truro and surrounding areas.
Patton owns storage units on East Prince Street, which were not affected by the flooding, as well as 50 storage containers that had been located beside the Eddy Group building on Salmon River Road.
After having to deal with those units being flooded last year and once again a couple of weeks ago, when more than 100 mm of rain poured down on the region, Patton said he had no choice but to find another location for his secondary storage site.
"It's not easy to tell everybody that your stuff is all gone," he said. "I had to do it twice, I'll never do it again, that's why I'm moving."
Patton's new site is on higher ground in Salmon River, near Murray's Siding.
Beyond the individual loss that each of his 50 customers underwent, it is costing him upwards of $80,000 to relocate his storage containers to dry land.
And he believes it could all have been avoided if the proper-sized culvert were in place at the end of the CN railway bridge where it connects with Queen Street.
An old concrete culvert that had been located there, and which had collapsed, was replaced after last year's flood. But Patton believes the new culvert is not large enough to deal with flood waters that come pouring down from the residential area in Princeton Heights.
"They repaired what was there but it's still not adequate infrastructure to take the feed of water away," he said. "Something's got to be done with that culvert."
As an example, he said, his property on East Prince Street was not flooded because a large concrete culvert there provides ample runoff to prevent water from backing up.
Blair Harris, a senior development manager with Eddy Group Ltd., also believes the smaller culvert is inadequate for the volume of water it is expected to handle.
"It's a huge piece of the problem, it's not all the problem," said Harris, who is overseeing issues related to the flooding of the Eddy Group building.
"The water did not come from the river, it came from behind us," he said. "When it backs up it's got nowhere to go. It comes directly from ... (across the CN tracks and beyond) into ours."
The flooding has also forced Eddy Group operations to relocate to a temporary site in Truro's industrial park, he said, after pretty much all the inventory up to more than a metre high within the 15,000 square foot building was destroyed, Harris said.
The value of that stock is estimated at more than $1 million, but given the damage to the building itself, he said, "the inventory is just a small part of what we have to deal with out there."
Both Patton and Harris said they have yet to hear from any municipal officials about dealing with the issue and past efforts to determine who is responsible for the culvert in question have not been resolved.
"Who do you talk to?" asked Patton, regarding whether the responsibility for the culvert rests with the Town of Truro, the County of Colchester, CN or the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal.
"You pay $45,000 for a couple of acres of land here to do business, you lose everything because they won't put the right infrastructure in."
"Nobody wants to take responsibility for anything," he said. "We're in the county, we pay our taxes to the county ... In my opinion, it's the county's issue to solve."