Otto Toevs and daughter Natalie Macklin are wondering when Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre re-opens after closing Sept. 14.

Otto Toevs and daughter Natalie Macklin are wondering when Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre re-opens after closing Sept. 14.

No activity in Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre

Closed since torrential flash flood in mid-September

The Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre is the place for seniors to get connected, have some fun and avoid isolation.

So when the Zumba, tai chi and chair yoga classes are moved out of the building, it’s noticed.

Those classes and others have all been moved out of the bulding at 12150 – 224th St., after a freak storm flooded the activity centre on Sept. 14.

The downpour of hail and rain took place over a few hours in the downtown and inundated several buildings, including the Greg Moore Youth Centre, as well as the Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre.

Ridge Meadows Seniors Society president Don Mitchell said the hail plugged storm drains in the parking lot, causing water to pour in under the doors into the activity centre, putting a few centimetres of water on to the ground floor. That ruined carpets and floors and soaked the drywall, part way up the walls.

Fortunately, the kitchen, which provides food for the Meals On Wheels program, is still operating.

“Essentially, the drains couldn’t take it away fast enough and it rolled in underneath the front door,” Mitchell said.

But so far, repairs are being bogged down at the insurance claim stage.

“We’re pushing the agents all of the time. It’s extremely frustrating, I can tell you that. We’ve got a lot of seniors affected and being affected by it,” Mitchell said.

He didn’t know what the total cost will be for repairs.

The flooring and carpet and drywall have been removed, he pointed out.

“The building is dry. They’ve dried out the building,” Mitchell said.

However, restoration work to allow resumption of activities has yet to start. About 1,500 people visit the centre each week.

The closure of the activity centre is starting to bother Natalie Macklin’s 92-year-old dad, Otto Toevs.

He lives just down the street and visiting the centre for a game of snooker and a cigar and a chat with others is a daily routine.

But he hasn’t been able to do that since September because there’s still no place for him to play snooker unless he wants to go to the Pitt Meadows Seniors Activity Centre. He’s been visiting the Maple Ridge centre for the past six years and uses a mobility scooter to get around.

Toevs pointed out that the snooker room wasn’t affected by the flood, just the hallway that leads to it.

“I’m here a quarter after seven [a.m.], six days a week, Monday to Saturday.”

Part of his routine is having a cigarello on the bench outside, which he can’t have in his assisted living unit just down the street.

Macklin said that work started soon after the event, with fans drying out the build and crews removing part of the wall.

“Then everything stopped,” she said.

“So many people are put out. The routine is pretty constant and to have that routine broken is not good,” added Macklin.

“There’s a tonne of actitivity that goes on there and it’s all been displaced,” said Macklin.

A sign on the door notes that class 3 contaminated water flooded into the building. Initially, repairs were supposed to be done in the fall, then Christmas, now it’s some time in the new year.

“Nobody is getting any answers,” said Macklin.

According to the Ridge Meadows Seniors Society website, activities have been moved to a variety of locations. Chair yoga now takes place at Chartwell Willow, just down the street, which is where the tai chi classes also take place. Meanwhile, Zumba classes are taking place in the Greg Moore Youth Centre.

Mitchell said one factor that is slowing down the claims process is that the seniors activity centre opened in 1999 as a finished project with the seniors condo building above. The 10 commercial units that comprise the seniors activity centre are part of the building that is separately owned by the City of Maple Ridge, but operated by the seniors society.

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