All 52 tenants remain displaced from the Cariboo Friendship Society’s Eagle’s Nest housing complex because of a water main break on Nov. 20 that led to the discovery of groundwater problems beneath the building.
Cariboo Friendship Society executive director Rosanna McGregor updated city council about the problem during the regular council meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 26.
McGregor said she cringes every time one of the tenants comes into her office to find out if there has been any progress.
For now the tenants have had to make other arrangements. Some are living with friends and relatives, some are staying at the CFS’s shelter or the transition house,and some people have found other places to rent, she added.
“We had over 6,000 gallons a minute of water pouring out of the water main,” she said. “The water poured out of the building until we could get the City to come and shut the water off.”
Now, underneath the building there is water that continues to rise, she said, noting they have had some sump pumps under there. “When we built it we did not have nearly as much water, but we certainly have an abundance under there right now.”
The water has never been turned back on in the building.
“It’s a very long process trying to get the engineers all lined up because of course we don’t have an abundance of those in Williams Lake, so we have been relying mainly on the ones from Kamloops.”
Drawings have been put together by engineers with the assistance of the city’s building inspector, Gary Deane, and staff to ensure there is no “cross contaminating,” she added.
“Water really is our nemesis and has caused us to go to an alternative method of putting the water main in a crawl space as opposed to going back down in the dirt where it may erode again. That’s really the crux of the matter — no engineer wants to approve it going back underneath the building and you can appreciate that it’s all underneath the building.”
In the meantime the flooring, electrical, painting and drywall repair is underway.
“There is a little bit of elevator work to be done, but the big portion of work is the water and it’s pretty dire. We may have to dig up the street,” she added.
On a more positive note, the CFS’s zoning amendment application was approved for its proposed daycare at 254 First Avenue North during Tuesday’s council meeting. Sheena Rogers, manager of Little Moccasins Learning Centre, will also manage the new daycare and said in January, the CFS applied to Aboriginal Head Start for funding when the call came out from the provincial government to develop new daycares.
McGregor also told council the CFS is turning 50 in 2019 and will be planning a community celebration some time in 2019 and will come back to council to possibly seek permission to host a street party.