Due to flooding: Some businesses in temporary locations

July 21, 2014 7:51 am
Julia Dima

After a massive rainfall inundated Moosomin with flooding on the July long weekend, the second storm that hit the town on July 10 was not needed—about four inches of rain, heavy winds, and hail hit the town at about 5 p.m.

Many streets around town, just recently cleaned up from the Canada Day weekend flood, were once again filled with water. Windover Avenue and Carleton Street were impassable, Gertie Street was flooded, and Main Street had to be closed off to traffic in sections because of the high water levels.

Along with the many residents who were faced with a new wave of water to their already damaged basements, Thursday’s floods caused serious damage to some businesses on Main Street.

Andrew Agencies, CDI Injury Recovery Centre, and the Moosomin Family Practice Centre all dealt with such severe flooding that they had to close temporarily.

Andrew Agencies had a few feet of water fill the basement, and to make matters worse, the flood water caused an electrical fire in the basement, where internet provider RFNOW has equipment.

“The fire caused smoke damage upstairs,” says Darren Grimes, the Saskatchewan Area Manager for Andrew Agencies. “Right now, the office is closed while we have adjusters in. We are going to be working out of temporary office locations until we can get back into the building. Our temporary office location will be located in trailers in our parking lot behind the building.”

Last week, staff from the Moosomin office were working out of the Rocanville and Whitewood offices. Grimes says the damage caused a major setback at an inopportune time, as local people are seeking help from Andrew Agencies to deal with their own flooding.

“It’s been a challenge, but nothing compared to what our customers are facing with the flood situation,” he says. “We are working, and hopefully, we can offer full services again very shortly.”

As for RFNOW, most of their electronic equipment was a complete write-off between the four feet of flood water and the electrical fire.

“I think it’s fair to say the damage is somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000 to replace equipment,” says Chris Kennedy, Chief Operating Officer at RFNOW.

The fire did knock out internet and phone services for customers in the Moosomin area as well, where RFNOW provides service to over 200 residents.

“Services were affected for about 24 hours. However, we were able to transfer things over to our Virden office, so we are lucky that way. Some of our employees, that night, didn’t sleep for 24 hours, they were trying to get service back up for our clients,” he says.

RFNOW will be sharing the temporary office with Andrew Agencies and is hoping that when things are cleaned up, they can negotiate moving into the upstairs of the building.

“We don’t want to move back into the basement, and risk this happening again,” Kennedy says.

Across the street from Andrew Agencies, the flooding also caused substantial damage at CDI Injury Recovery Centre. Owner Coral Istace is not sure if the building will be inhabitable again, because of the severity of the damage. The water was about a foot high on the main floor of the building, and the entire building was surrounded by water.

“When I could get into the building, the water had receded from the main floor, and it was about an inch of mud sludge on the floor, that was pushed up from the crawlspace. We moved everything out pretty fast, because we did not know how stable the ground was,” Istace says.

Istace says she was able to salvage some of her equipment. However, her ultrasound machine, acupuncture equipment, exercise equipment, printer, phone, desk, computers, and a lot of paperwork—including patient charts—were completely destroyed.

Istace is worried that the water has softened parts of the ground, and the foundation may not be stable—so she is hoping the owner of the building will decide to rebuild, whether or not the building is condemned.

In the meantime, Istace has been working out of her satellite clinic, that she usually works out of on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now, she has found a house to rent on Main Street in Moosomin to work out of on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until her building can be used again. She says it has been hard to see her building ruined, and she did lose income because of the flooding cancelling appointments. But she is ready to have her temporary Moosomin office opened.

“This is discouraging, but it could always be worse. I’ve been blessed that I have the satellite clinic in Rocanville, and that I was able to rent the house on Main Street to work out of . . . to sit there and wallow is not going to help anything. You have to put your chin up and keep going,” Istace says.

The Moosomin Family Practice Centre is also dealing with an indefinite closure after water started pouring through the roof. While files and equipment were not harmed, the clinic can’t be used, and doctors have had to be working out of peripheral clinics in other towns, and the Southeast Integrated Care Centre in Moosomin.

“The biggest hold up is going to be the roof. Unless the roof is fixed, we cannot proceed to fix the inside,” says Doctor Schalk Van Der Merwe.

Until the building is safe to inhabit again, doctors are working out of the SEICC for emergency cases, and out of peripheral clinics in Maryfield, Wawota, Rocanville, or Elkhorn for appointments.

“Patients can still call the clinic, and a secretary will direct them where to go. But we really ask that people do not overflow the Emergency department in Moosomin for problems that can be seen by their regular doctor, so for those, we do ask that they come see us in the other clinics,” Van Der Merwe says.

Eighty appointments had to be cancelled after the flood, but since then, all appointments have been successfully moved.

It was not just businesses on Main Street that were dealing with the flooding. The Moosomin swimming pool on Gertie Street saw about a foot of water that flooded the pool area and left two feet of water in the office and change rooms.

“The two biggest things for us are the circulating pump and the boiler, and we kept those okay. But we had to empty the pool, and when we did that, there was so much ground pressure that the liner was letting loose, so we had to refill it, but there was fine dirt in there, so we had to empty it again,” says Moosomin recreation director Mike Schwean. He says that two shower water heaters had to be replaced, and that the liner will likely have to be replaced next year, and for the 10 days that the pool was closed, about $10,000 of revenue was lost.

“But we’ll bounce back,” says Schwean. The pool reopens today, and a grand re-opening is planned for this coming Saturday. “We hope to have some fun stuff like inflatables and hot dogs, just some fun for everyone to get going again.”