Wellburn's heritage building closed due to sewage flooding
Tenants of the building say they first noticed water issues in the building on Monday: Nov. 29, 2019 (CTV News)
VICTORIA – The heritage-registered Wellburn's Market building, located at the corner of Cook Street and Pandora Avenue, has been closed indefinitely due to sewage flooding.
The closure affects the entire building, including Wellburn's Food Market, the longstanding Cook St. Barbershop and tenants who live in the upper floors of the property.
One resident of the building, Chris, who requested that his surname not be shared, said that he first noticed water issues in the heritage building on Monday, when he could not activate hot water. Nearly one week later, Chris said that he has been told to leave the building.
"I noticed early Monday morning that we had no hot water and I guess after further investigation they found that the sewage pipe was completely rotted and just spilling sewage out underneath the building," said Chris.
In the short term, Chris says that the building's property manager has offered to house residents in the Sandman Hotel, though long term solutions to the issue have not been shared yet.
Meanwhile, Rolf Moosman, owner of the Cook Street Barber Shop, says that the building's sudden closure will have rippling affects throughout the community.
"Basically, the city just turned off the water," said Moosman. "They're going to turn off the power next so we've basically been asked to vacate the building immediately."
"I'm shutting down the shop first then I have to look for another business."
According to Mossman, signs that there was a sewage problem continued after hot water stopped operating in the building on Monday. The business owner says that on Tuesday, a plumber was called to the building. Then, on Wednesday, Mossman says a vehicle equipped with a pump was flushing something out of the property.
With tenants of the building being asked to leave, Moosman says that he is concerned for people in the community who have visited the barbershop since it first opened in the building more than half a century.
"It’s going to affect the neighbourhood," said Moosman. "This barber shop has been in this neighbourhood for roughly 60 years… I feel bad for the clients who are going to be left in the cold."
Meanwhile, the City of Victoria told CTV News that there has been no impact to other buildings in the area and that the issue appears to be a private problem.
The city said that the water backup was not due to a collapse of the public sewer system in the area.
The Wellburn's heritage building was first built on 1058 Pandora Avenue in 1911.
The century-old property is set to be replaced by a mixed-use residential and commercial building that incorporates the structure's original façade next year.