Crews work to re-open Wellburn's Market building

Tenants of the building say they first noticed water issues in the building on Monday: Nov. 29, 2019 (CTV News)

VICTORIA – Owners of the heritage-registered Wellburn's Market Building, located at the corner of Cook Street and Pandora Avenue, say they are working as fast as they can to get tenants back into the building.

The majority of the building was closed indefinitely on Friday, including Wellburns's Food Market and tenants who live on the upper floors, due to sewage flooding. The long-standing Cook Street Barbershop, however, remains open as it's on a separate water system.

The cause of the flooding was due to the original sewage pipe – which dates back to 1911 when the building was first constructed – which rotted and collapsed. 

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 Nov. 25, 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.

Pacific Cove Property Management says crews are on scene today to determine the scope of the problem. Repair work is expected to begin today with an update scheduled for Monday night to explain what will happen going forward.

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 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. 

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