'This is where it hurts': Campground owners cleaning up after flooding

Some campground owners in New Brunswick are now just starting to be able to clean up after their businesses were hit hard by flooding.

'When you've worked as long as I have at a business, it's hard to see it go down the river'

Crystal Beach posted this photo to its Facebook page on May 6, with the caption 'We are under lots of water, but trying to keep our spirits high! Still looking forward to what is going to be our best summer yet!' (Crystal Beach/Facebook)

Some campground owners in New Brunswick are just starting to be able to clean up after major spring flooding damaged their businesses.

"There was nothing we could really do when the flood came, because all there was was water," said Mark Murchison, owner of Crystal Beach Campground in Westfield Beach, N.B.

He started his cleanup on Saturday, filling a dumpster with five freezers and two fridges. 

The cleanup at Crystal Beach wasn't able to begin until Saturday. (Submitted)

He still doesn't have electricity, but will use his generator to pump out his well and sump pump — and to power the lights he'll need for indoor cleanup.

"It's like a game of pickup sticks. You just pick up one stick and then you have to go somewhere else, because you're kind of stuck there."

The campround has been in Murchison's family for about six decades.

"But, you know, this is our business," he said. "You live by the river, you die by the river and that's kind of what we do."

'It's hard to see it go down the river'

Down the road at Hardings Point Campground, Howard Heans has been hauling gravel and levelling crushed rock.

Heans, who has owned the business for more than five decades, said he's never seen this level of flood damage.

Tanya Robson shared this photo of flooding at Hardings Point Campground to Facebook on May 6. (Tanya Robson/Facebook)

"When you've worked as long as I have at a business, it's hard to see it go down the river," he said. "The current was so strong and did so much damage."

Heans started cleaning up "right soon as the water started to drop" and has cleared out "dumptruck loads" of debris and garbage.

Hopeful for upcoming season

Neither Heans nor Murchison know what they'll be eligible for in terms of compensation.

Murchison usually opens the first weekend of June. He's hopeful he can be ready by then, but said he might have to delay his opening by a week.

This photo of the Hardings Point area shows the flooding on May 4. (‎Troy Harnish/Facebook)

The profit margin is so small, he said, that the delay could harm his business.

"We're not starting out too well this year so we're kind of going to be in the red already, I think."

Heans didn't open last weekend as he had originally hoped but, despite the cost of the damage, he said he's hopeful about the upcoming season.

He hopes to open by May 28 and plans to stay open into the fall to make up for the lost time.

When he got his phones working again, he got a surge of hope — people calling to make reservations.

"They just about filled that board with reservations," Heans said. "They have faith in us."

With files from Philip Drost