Calida Russell, at Start Smart ChildCare Centre, says furniture and flooring must all be replaced. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

VIDEO: Maple Ridge daycare closed after flood waters pour inside

Effects of Friday’s downpour will be felt for months

Friday afternoon’s flash flood not only wiped out Anita Place Tent City, it closed the doors of the Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre on Dewdney Trunk Road for several weeks.

Water backed up into the parking lot of the building, located in the 22600-block. The damage was extensive, the centre said on its Facebook page.

“We’ve been deeply impacted by this flood. It was basically a river running through the centre,” explained Shawn Matthewson, executive-director of the non-profit society that runs the centre.

“We now have no place for children to receive their therapy at the centre.”

The centre offers both on-site and at-home therapy and intervention for 400 Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows kids with developmental delays or disabilities and is now looking for a temporary new home while restoration gets underway.

The flood happened at about 5 p.m. Friday, when the parking lot on the south side of the building filled with flood water. The storm drains weren’t plugged, but were just overwhelmed by the volume of water that emptied from the skies.

“Our parking lot was like a lake on Friday,” Matthewson explained.

“It was basically like a geyser coming out of the storm drain. Just a torrent of rain.”

Once it reached high enough, the water just poured through the hallways into the various rooms in the centre, ruining carpets, flooring, furniture, walls and equipment.

The cleanup already started on the weekend and was continuing on Monday with restoration crews hauling out musty carpet and bits and pieces. Many wore masks and the air had a dank smell.

Progress is being made at getting back on track quickly. It’s possible a temporary location could be found by the middle of the week thanks to the generosity of the community, Mattewson said.

She added that the centre could use some help to make up any gap in insurance coverage.

“We could use support, that’s all, right now.”

A Go Fund Me page is currently being set up.

Start Smart Childcare Centre, which shared the same building, is in the same boat.

“All of this furniture has to be replaced,” said Calida Russell, in a large playroom in the Childcare Centre.

“Huge flash flood. Within an hour, our whole centre was under water and we were ferrying kids out and getting them to safety and our building is flooded, really flooded,” Russell said.

In addition to about 100 parents having to find daycare space on short notice, about 30 teachers are off work, she pointed out.

But Russell is hopeful they’ll resume operations soon in a temporary location while restoration gets underway.

“The city and school district have come forward. I’m optimistic, for sure.”

But whatever new location is found must also be inspected and approved by Fraser Health.

The current location is centrally located and convenient, she pointed out.

Three parents whose kids attend the childcare centre are relying on family in the interim.

“My husband’s home today and it will be my turn next,” said Ali Dutton, whose two-year-old twins attend the daycare.

“We’ll just go from there, really. We absolutely love it here.”

Julie Lanyon, who works in Vancouver, said grandparents from Langley are helping out with babysitting.

“I feel for the single parents who are coming here, as well. What are they going to do?”

Shawna Hall’s four-year-old daughter is in the pre-school program and also staying with grandparents, but wants to see her friends.

“She should be back to pre-school, hopefully sooner than later.”

The building had just been renovated with the help of Keller Williams Realty.

Other businesses were also hit by the torrential downpour and hail storm with Valley Fair Mall flooding out and the roof springing a leak at the Haney Hotel.

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Workers were hauling out soggy carpet Monday. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre is closed because of flooding. (Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)

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