Nfld. & Labrador

After extensive flooding damage, Easter Seals getting back on track

Recovery work is ongoing, but things are starting to get back on track at Easter Seals in St. John's after the building was badly damaged by flooding this summer.

Staff gradually moving back into building as group's biggest fundraiser, the cabin lottery, wraps up

Easter Seals staff are only just now starting to get back into the building on Mount Scio Road in St. John's, after flooding caused extensive damage in July. (Submitted by Samantha Parrell)

Recovery work is ongoing, but things are starting to get back on track at Easter Seals in St. John's and staff are moving back into the building, following extensive flooding damage.

"It was a huge hit," says CEO Mark Bradbury of the damage caused by an overnight plumbing failure in early July.

The building on Mount Scio Road is about 10,000 square feet, and Bradbury said 80 per cent of it was damaged in the flooding over the weekend of July 6-7.

It caused some disruptions to summer programming by Easter Seals, Bradbury said, but staff managed to make it work.

"Our programming staff are amazing. I don't know how they actually pulled this off, but they did do a lot and got about, I'd say, 90 per cent of our programming up and running," he said.

Easter Seals CEO Mark Bradbury says the organization took a hit but 90 per cent of the programming is up and running. (Paula Gale/CBC)

"The brand new accessible and inclusive playground that we just built the previous summer, none of the camp kids could use it all summer. We couldn't even do a field trip there because there was no washrooms for them to use, so that was a bit upsetting."

While it was a rough summer, Bradbury said repairs are coming along nicely, and staff have gradually started moving back in.

But he added the group is still out tens of thousands of dollars.

"We put a number on it, about $50,000 that we're trying to recover," he said.

"We probably recovered around $10,000 or $15,000 of that and we're hoping to recover the balance. And conveniently, today is the final deadline for our luxury cabin lottery, which is a huge event for us."

Bradbury said he hopes the annual cabin lottery will generate quite a bit of cash for Easter Seals.

Last year's 50/50 draw total as part of the cabin lottery, for example, was around $413,500, an amount that has had a "huge impact" for Easter Seals, Bradbury said.

Furniture is covered in plastic at the Easter Seals building on Mount Scio Road after a flood in July. (Submitted by Samantha Parrell)

The annual draw and fundraiser has lots of prizes, and makes all the difference, he said especially after the extensive flooding damage.

"It'll help us recover that amount from the flooding, it goes towards the programs, such as wheelchair basketball, Let's Get Active, to art therapy — all these programs. We're also building a beautiful accessible and inclusive park," Bradbury said.

And while some of the lottery money will go toward the repairs, which wasn't part of the initial plan, Bradbury hopes there will be enough left over to make everything work smoothly.

"We'll do OK," Bradbury said.

"We faced lots of challenges in the past and we've overcome them."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from The St. John's Morning Show

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