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Flooding closes Whitehorse local food market

A Whitehorse local food market has been damaged by flooding . A water main ruptured underground and the water rose with enough force to crack concrete.

Farmer Robert's store has cracked concrete and water damage, after city water main bursts

Farmer Robert's in Whitehorse, sells local produce including eggs. The store has been in business two years but will have to close pending repairs. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A Whitehorse local food market will close for a while due to flooding damage.

Farmer Robert's was damaged on the evening of Feb. 13 when a city water main broke underneath Waterfront Place, a street off Quartz Road. 

Robert Ryan — a local farmer and the business owner— said he got a call from a friend overnight saying there was water gushing from inside the business.

Ryan said he arrived to find the concrete floor raised and cracked to the point that he couldn't open the front door.

"The pressure of the water lifted the concrete, inside and outside and it flooded the store," Ryan said.

Water entered the store overnight, pooling in one section which does not have in-floor drainage. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Ryan said the pressure damage has yet to be assessed.

The concrete appears to have cracked and risen by about 20 centimetres in some places, and there's also an open hole beneath the store which was eroded by the water, he said.

The water emerged under the building, creating this hole. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

'It seems like the foundation there has actually moved'

On Wednesday, one corner of the store was flooded with about three centimetres of water. Ryan said some floor tiles also cracked due to rising water.  

But the store's cafe corner was the most affected and "it seems like the foundation there has actually moved," Ryan said.

He is now dealing with insurance claims and said the business will have to close for the short term.

"I am waiting for city inspectors to say the building is safe so we can clean up and reopen," he said.

The building still has power which means the refrigerators are still humming. However Ryan is not sure what will happen to the fresh goods. 

Robert Ryan says the business has flood insurance. However the damage is more than just a soaking. One part of the foundation "appears to have moved" due to pressure coming from underground. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Workers dig through frozen ground

City of Whitehorse crews were on site today beginning repairs to the water main. No other businesses on the street have reported damage. 

Geoff Quinsey, who is manager of the city's water and waste services, said the problem appears to have started about three-and-a-half metres underground, at a pipe that connects the water main to a fire hydrant.

Quinsey said the juncture "has a number of mechanical components," and city crews will investigate the parts to find fault. 

"Whereas the pipe is relatively structurally consistent, there are a whole bunch of bolts and joints that happen at a hydrant assembly so there's a number of potential places where a failure can start and propagate," he said. 

Quinsey said the water followed the path of least resistance. Blocked by frozen ground, it emerged through the ground which was thawed under the store.

Traffic will be redirected on Waterfront Place tomorrow as crews continue to work on the repairs.

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