Winnipeg shops struggle with frozen water pipes
Hundreds of Winnipeg homeowners have been struggling with frozen pipes over the last few weeks, but local business owners are also trying to make do without running water.
A total of 1,359 homes and businesses are on the City of Winnipeg's waiting list for pipe-thawing as of Monday afternoon, up nine from Sunday.
As of Monday, 821 properties have had their water service restored, while 637 are connected to temporary water supplies via city-installed hose lines.
But some Winnipeggers aren't waiting that long for city crews, instead asking private plumbers and contractors to try methods not authorized by the city.
"We're just squeaking by right now. I mean, we can only do as much as we can boil water for," said Constance Menzies, whose chocolate shop in St. Boniface has been without running water for 10 days.
Menzies called Tractus Projects and J.B. Plumbing, which developed a pipe-thawing device that shoots hot water down pipes.
"This is sort of our last day of … trying to figure things out for our tool and get the confidence that things are working," said Jaret Horbatiuk of Tractus Projects.
But while the crew has had successes in the past week, Monday's trial at Chocolatier Constance Popp did not work as she had hoped.
"Highly disappointed. I've put all my eggs in this basket," she said.
Menzies said she's hoping to install a temporary water hose.
Pet store hit hard by water outage
Across town, Pet Peripherals in Transcona had to spend a month without running water, making it difficult for staff to clean cages, fill fish tanks and keep animals hydrated.
"You go through so much if it. People don't understand the amount of water you go through a day doing that," said Tanya Morgan, the store's owner.
"Every time you touch an animal, you wash your hands."
The biggest impact from the frozen pipes, Morgan said, has been to her pet grooming business.
After weeks of not being able to book appointments, her groomer was forced to find work elsewhere — a loss of hundreds of dollars a day.
"It's beyond sad. It was my life. I've put everything I had in the last 4½ years into this store," she said.
After Morgan came forward with her story on Sunday morning, a city crew showed up at her property on Sunday afternoon and thawed her pipes within an hour.
But Morgan said she wasn't sure if she would be able to stay open, even though she has running water again.
She said in the past month she has lost about $15,000 in business from being unable to groom animals at her shop due to the water problem.