White Rock Hospice Society scrambles to recover from flood

Restoration work continues to repair damaged caused by a Dec. 3 flood at the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society. - Contributed photo
Restoration work continues to repair damaged caused by a Dec. 3 flood at the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society.
— image credit: Contributed photo

A flood earlier this month has not only thrown the White Rock South Surrey Hospice Society into disarray but also reinforced the organization's need for a new facility, its executive director says.

On Monday, Dec. 3, the supportive-care centre – a split-level home just south of Peace Arch Hospital – from which the hospice society operates suffered a weekend flood due to a "sump problem." The basement was flooded with between three and six inches of water.

"The supportive care centre we have is very old, and it's not adequate for the services we are providing and for the number of people we provide services to," said executive director Catherine Ferguson. "We need a new centre, and this has really just driven that home even more."

It's the building's second flood in as many years, she added.

A number of desks and other furniture were damaged by the flood, Ferguson said, as well many files and other materials.

"We're going to be OK with the really important files, because we were diligent enough to store them higher up," she added.

Everything salvaged from the basement is currently in storage. The desks will likely have to be replaced, however, and the carpets and portions of the walls have already been removed.

The basement also housed the society's counselling office, where many support groups met each week. In addition, employees of the centre have also been displaced, either doubling and tripling up in offices elsewhere in the building, or working off-site when possible.

Ferguson, past mayor of the City of White Rock, said the Crescent Gardens Retirement Community in South Surrey has been providing the society with space for programming, and the chamber of commerce has offered up its board room for staff meetings.

"The generosity has been wonderful, and we're making the best of it, but it's still been very difficult – certainly a challenge," Ferguson said.

"Right now in particular is a really tough time of year for a lot of people who are going through grief and loss, and we want to make sure we are able to provide them with that support during such a difficult time."

Ferguson was unsure how long restoration would take, saying only that "it's going to be a work in progress for awhile."

Flood damage is not the building's only problem, either. Ferguson said the home is also in need of a new roof and other repairs.

And the building's growing list of needs makes it difficult for the society's board, she said, as they work toward finding a new, larger, facility.

"Putting a lot of money into it, knowing that it doesn't meet our needs, doesn't make a lot of sense," she said.

"The hospice board is committed to (a new facility). We just have to make some changes and raise some money, and we could certainly use some help."

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