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City Hall Faces Extreme Rebuild

by Shanine Sealey

On Saturday, October 14th, a 6” pipe at City Hall in Martensville burst, which caused extensive damage to the 10,000 sq. ft. building with water damage hitting every inch of flooring. The mechanical room, where the water issues originated saw approximately 4 feet of water before the pressure caused the water to burst through an adjoining wall into the office next to it. From there, the water made its way to every other area, rising up to approximately 1.5 feet and covering electrical outlets throughout the entire building.

Shortly after 8 pm on Saturday night, the City’s alarm system went off, notifying management to an incident within the building. The notification came through a motion detector located in the office adjacent to the mechanical room, and showed no signs of broken glass, or intrusion into the building. “Per the protocol, there is a call out list and managers were notified of a situation. This protocol was followed to the tee. Motion alarms happen from time to time at any and all places, and can sometimes be something as little as an HVAC system kicking in and blowing a piece of paper. None of us could have ever prepared ourselves for the situation that we were walking into,” City of Martensville Community/Economic Development Manager, Dillon Shewchuk stated. Unfortunately, the water had overtaken the building so much at this point, that the damage was already done.Once on site, the appropriate safety measures had to be taken, which included turning off power to the building

Once on site, the appropriate safety measures had to be taken, which included turning off power to the building to ensure that no electrical current was running through the flood water. The water was shut off from the exterior of the building, doors were opened to release the build-up of the water and steps were taken to ensure the environment would be safe throughout the night. “We are extremely thankful that no one got hurt due to the severity of the issue. Things could have been much worse in the end,” Shewchuk said. The exact cause of the issue is not known at this time, however the City of Martensville is working with their mechanical contractors and insurance provider to determine when and why the break occurred. Although nothing can be confirmed this early, there are two speculations, of which either the thrust blocking or joint restraints may have failed; however, until they dig down and get to the root of the issue, nothing can be finalized.

Due to the extensive damage, the City of Martensville had to implement a contingency plan so they could continue to operate efficiently, with the goal in place to minimize the impact the situation would have on residents. On Sunday all residents that are signed up through the City of Martensville’s NotifyNow system were alerted to the situation. “Based on an initial assessment, we are quite certain day-to-day business at City Hall will be impacted but we don’t know the full extent, how residents will be affected,” says Shewchuk.

As of Sunday morning, the City had secured a location in which to operate out of, which will be situated at the former Shop Easy grocery store on Centennial Drive. Throughout the day on Monday, there was a hub of activity throughout City Hall and at the City’s temporary location as staff and crews worked to get the new space operational. At City Hall, staff sorted through their offices, trying to salvage as much as they possibly could and a disaster management company was on site as early as Sunday morning, working to clean up the mess created by the water. Approximately 15 people work at City Hall on a day-to-day basis, and many were devastated walking into the building. Personal effects from offices were found in other areas of the building, completely destroyed. Degrees which once proudly adorned their offices were completely drenched and unrecognizable. “Many of us were hit really hard by this. These are people’s livelihoods. They invest a lot of personal energy into it, and they like what they do. People are hurt by this emotionally. Based on my personal expectations, I am thinking it will be four to six months before we are able to get back in there. We are basically expecting the worst, and hoping for the best at this point,” Shewchuk explained.

Although the Civic Centre did take on some water, there was no major damage. Early Sunday morning, one of the first steps taken was to ensure that clean up and sanitization was performed on the areas of the Civic Centre that the water had made its way into. “The damage will obviously be assessed further, however at this point, everything is cleaned up and all programming commenced as scheduled as of Monday morning,” added Shewchuk. Due to the water, City Council was cancelled for the October 17th meeting. Council will resume their regularly scheduled meetings in November at the Civic Centre.

Martensville Mayor Kent Muench commented on the situation via Facebook, updating residents on the situation and showing appreciation to all that helped. “I would like to thank all the people who came out on Saturday night to help with the flooding. Thank you to city staff who responded, the various community members who helped out at the Civic Centre, the fi refi ghters who attended the scene and got the main water line shut off and to SaskPower who ensured the power on site was disconnected.”

In addition to checking the City’s website at Martensville.ca, residents are being asked to follow
the City’s social media pages (Facebook and Twitter) where regular updates will be posted. Media advisories will be issued as required. Residents can also contact staff at the Martensville Athletic Pavilion (MAP) at (306) 683-5576 during regular hours: Monday to Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekends.

Note on featured image

Water pours out of the front doors of City Hall Saturday evening. (Jocelyn Ottenbreit/MM)

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