Family 'floored' when bumped down Winnipeg pipe thawing list

A Winnipeg family is shocked they've been bumped down the city's frozen pipe priority list after being forced to leave town.
There are more than 1,100 homes still waiting for thawing service from the city. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

A Winnipeg family is shocked they've been bumped down the city's frozen pipe priority list after being forced to leave town.

Drew Gourdie, his wife and their children and his mother-in-law are staying in Toronto because they have no water in their River Heights home.

Gourdie's wife has access to an apartment there through her work.

On Wednesday, a 311 operator told them they have been pushed down the list for thawing because they aren't living in their house, Gourdie said.

"And we were just floored when they told us that we've dropped because, I mean we need to know because that will determine when we come back," he said.

"It never dawned on us that that [going to Toronto] would mean that we could lose our place in the queue."

That news is just the latest development in a long list of excuses from the city, Gourdie said.

"Every time we call it's sort of a different explanation about how they are trying to manage the situation," he said.

The pipes at his home froze almost a month ago and Gourdie says the family might not be able to return home until June.

Latest frozen pipes stats from the city:

Frozen water pipe reports since November 20132,499
Properties where water has been restored (i.e. thawing)1,344
Properties on the list for city thawing service1,155
Properties with city-installed temporary hose line805
Properties at increased risk of frozen pipes7,320
Source: City of Winnipeg