Saint John non-profits displaced in market tower flood
Groups forced from rent-free space in city market tower cannot return to building
Some Saint John non-profit groups displaced from the tower above the Saint John City Market are beginning to settle into new, temporary spaces.
They were forced from their offices earlier this month, when thousands of gallons of water from a burst radiator pipe flooded three floors and damaged walls, ceilings, and the building's electrical panel.
The groups had rent-free office space in the 150-year-old building, but their leases have been terminated.
The Saint John Human Development Council, one former tenant, is now adjusting to a new space in Brunswick Square.
Executive director, Randy Hatfield says the group received short-term rent money from the city, but that will soon come to an end.
"Frankly it affects us in the sense that we now have to find cash to satisfy tenancy agreements and to pay a landlord," he said.
Hatfield says he hopes the organization can arrange with other non-profits to co-locate in a single large, modernized space where they can share rent and office resources.
The Saint John Multicultural and Newcomers Resource Centre is now operating some of its teaching programs from the Saint John Free Public Library.
PRUDE Inc., a Saint John multicultural group that runs programs to fight racism and bullying, has been given temporary free space in the Chinese Commerce Centre.
"Thank goodness for the people here in the Chinese Commerce building here that called up same day the events hit the news and said 'Hey, we'll help you out as long as we can with some space, what do you need,'" said PRUDE president Ralph Thomas.
Thomas says a shared space with other non-profit groups would make an ideal permanent home.
"If we've got to start paying square footage for rental it's a major, major setback because you're going to spend most of your time trying to get money just to exist," he said.
Saint John Deputy Mayor Shelley Rinehart says there has been no decision yet on the future of the market tower. City council is awaiting a damage report from insurance adjusters.