Flood dampens church’s coffers, food bank

Flooding in Trail United Church’s basement Wednesday night, casts doubt on how one of the city’s Food Banks will be able to continue

Construction near the Centotaph caused a flood in Trail United Church’s basement Wednesday night, casting doubt on how one of the city’s Food Banks will be able to continue, according to diaconal minister Keith Simmonds.

In a meeting around 7 p.m. a couple of church members notified administration about two overflowing toilets, a problem that continued into Thursday.

“We eventually tracked that down to some work in the sewer lines behind the church which I guess had plugged the lines below the church,” Simmonds  said Sunday.

The church is on a hill where the sewer lines go. The lines were plugged off around the Centotaph and overflowed into the church, down the stairs and into the basement beneath the church where the food bank operates out of, said Simmonds.

Although it is unclear how much damage was done, Simmonds said the insurance adjuster expects it to be over its $5,000 deductible.

“We’re not sure what to expect,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of people in because we had a laminate floor in that part of the church, and that had to come out. Some of the carpet and some of the lino all had to come out on the stairs too—and there was asbestos in there.”

The biggest problem for most people was the smell, but there is a lot of “people-power” trying to make amends—although Simmonds made a different connection.

“We seem to be having an interesting juxtaposition,” he continued, “we actually have this flood coming down the stairs into our food-bank area—which is a visual representation of being inundated, and we also have a flood of people who need help.

“We don’t know what it’s going to look like in terms of what the church will have to pay, and I don’t know if the City is going to take up any part of our deductible or not.”

The food-bank is open for roughly three hours every Tuesday of the month, except the second Tuesday.

“When we first started we had maybe 30 people,” he said. “Last October we broke 100 and last food bank day we had open, I think we had 145.”

The area where the food bank operates out of is on a slightly lower level than the rest of the basement and most of the sewage flowed in that direction, but it didn’t disrupt any scheduled events.

“We had a funeral and a wedding on Saturday and a church service Sunday, and they just have great big fans and humidifiers running in the basement with windows and doors open,” Simmonds said. “The church smelled fine so we just had our services and continued on.”

Simmonds said the situation could’ve been worse, if the City’s trucks did not begin pumping out the sewage, but remains unclear about whose bill it will be.

It is doubtful whether the area will be restored well enough to continue with next Tuesday’s food-bank.