Flooding, electrical repairs force tenants from Bridgewater building

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Flooding, electrical repairs force tenants from Bridgewater building

The chilly and snowy spring weather is adding to the misery of tenants at a Bridgewater, N.S., apartment building forced out of their homes after a flood fried the property's electrical system.

Nova Scotia Power cut electricity Wednesday to the building, which contains 10 apartments and three businesses, when water flooded the basement. There was more than a metre, wrecking the structure's electrical panel. The building no longer meets safety standards.

"Due to the fact that there's no fire alarms active and there's no emergency lights active, it's a safety hazard and we don't want anybody getting injured," building superintendent Jordan Ward said Friday.

Building owner Ken Anthony said he investigated getting generators, but the power utility told him to wait until the damaged electrical parts were replaced. He now thinks that will be April 6.

He believes most people — there are fewer than 20 tenants — will stay with family or friends, or be looked after by tenant insurance.

"I said whoever hasn't, then let me know and I'll make some arrangements," he said. 

But flooding has been an issue in the building for a long time, said tenant Patrick Greek.

He thinks more could have been done to prevent this one. He said when he went to check on his own electrical meter about three months ago, he found a large amount of water near it, plus an old water mark.

That mark showed water had risen over the meter at some point, Greek said.

"It was up over it. It had drained, but you could see it." 

Anthony agreed there have been water problems in the past. But he said he installed sump pumps, which worked fine until Wednesday when standing water from a neighbouring property backed up into his basement.

In the meantime, tenants had been toughing it out.

"No power, no lights, no Wi-Fi, nothing. It's cold. There was an ice storm, Wednesday. So yeah, it's been cold," said Troy Veinotte, another tenant.

Business owners in the building have also been affected. The power was cut at Kari Meisner's beauty salon right in the middle of her work day.

"We finished our clients, luckily, in the dark," she said, adding while she's frustrated, she thinks the landlord is doing everything he can to get people back into their homes.