Water main breaks create ‘chaos’

Torrents of water are leaving residents high and dry

Torrents of water are leaving residents high and dry.

Water was cut off to about 40 homes in South Vernon after an underground pipe broke Tuesday, while a water main break last week has forced the Vernon Public Art Gallery to relocate its operations.

“All through the year we can get breaks but the happen more often when the ground is thawing or freezing,” said Zee Marcolin, Greater Vernon Water manager.

Tuesday’s break occurred at 39th Street and 22nd Avenue and besides leaving some homes without water, Okanagan Avenue at 39th Street had to be closed during repairs.

“It’s not that big of a break,” said Marcolin of the six-inch pipe.

It was anticipated that repairs would be completed by the end of Tuesday and the cause of the pipe failure was not known at press time.

A massive water main break Dec. 5 forced the Vernon Public Art Gallery to move its gift shop and office to the vacant flower shop building on 31st Avenue Tuesday.

Walls damaged by water and mud are being repaired at the gallery in the parkade.

“It’s too hard to get in and work around the restoration staff,” said Dauna Kennedy Grant, executive director, of the need to move the gallery.

A key factor on the relocation was the fact that the gift shop generates much-needed revenue for gallery operations.

“Christmas is a big season and we bring in extra items from artisans,” said Kennedy Grant.

The gift shop will be open at the old flower shop until 5 p.m. Dec. 24.

But anyone wanting to take in an art class or view an exhibit will have to wait until the new year when the gallery reopens.

Not being able to meet the cultural needs of the community is less than ideal.

“It’s complete chaos right now but our staff is resilient through these situations,” said Kennedy Grant.

The former flower shop is the proposed site of a new art gallery, which could possibly go to referendum next year.

“We hope residents will come in, give us feedback about the site and we will pass those comments on to the politicians,” said Kennedy Grant.