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Berm announcement pleases business owners


Jay Brenton, right, regional director with the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, talks with Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann and Dom Fewer, emergency management planning officer regarding the berm behind Molly's Dairy Bar in North River.

NORTH RIVER - Local businesses are pleased someone is finally stepping up and taking responsibility for a berm that broke during last week's torrential rain and caused flooding to the area.

Karl Costandi, owner of Costandi Designs on Highway 311, said he was "very, very pleased" to hear the province of Nova Scotia has made a commitment to fix the berm.

"It's glad to see someone is taking ownership," he said while looking toward the berm. "I think it's coming from the top, so it's good to know the premier (Darrell Dexter) is concerned."

On Friday afternoon, Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann, on behalf of Emergency Management Office Minister Ross Landry, and Department of Environment regional director Jay Brenton announced the government is making staff and equipment from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal available for the repairs.

"I look forward to working with the crews to get this fixed properly," said Costandi.

For the past 26 years, the design shop has been in the Costandi family, with Costandi's mother owning it for 11 years. Costandi took it over 15 years ago.

"We had some flooding, but none of it was this bad," said Costandi, admitting he knows the business is on a flood plain.

The business, which offers design services, expertise and supplies, lost 60 to 70 per cent of its inventory, along with damage to the building.

"There was probably about $250,000-$300,000 in damages," he said.

"That's why I'm so concerned about the berm and that the repairs are done properly."

As a business owner, Costandi is grateful to everyone who came together to make the commitment.

"I know the other residents and business owners are grateful as well," he said.

That sentiment was echoed by Alex MacKenzie, whose father owns Hub Excavation and Diesel Ltd.

"It's great that they're stepping up to fix it," he said from the shop. "Our future is in jeopardy. If we keep building up our business and this keeps happening, we're not going to continue."

With his father owning the business, MacKenzie said it's also his future on the line.

"If he doesn't keep it, if he sells it, that's my future too. I hope they fix (the berm) good this time."

For about six years, Hub Excavation has been in business and has seen some flooding before.

"Not to this extent," MacKenzie said. "We lost equipment - three pickup trucks were flooded, our welders, tools, electric tools and work truck. We're still operating but we still have quite a mess to clean up."

When it comes to residents in the area, Costandi said the couple who owns the house on the corner of Main Street and Highway 311 aren't able to live there at the moment.

"They've lived there for 50 years and have never had water in their house," he said.

With rain Thursday and Friday, and more forecast for the weekend, officials said the work on the berm will begin as soon as the water recedes enough, which could be as early as Monday.


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