Updated: Dec 17, 2019
*UPDATE: We now know that insurance will cover the damage clean up in the basement however we are appealing to our community for support to cover the deductible and some additional costs for repairs that are not covered by insurance. To make a donation to support covering these additional costs you can donate online here.
After a challenging weekend, we have decided to share a letter we sent to our City Councillor requesting a meeting to discuss how our building was impacted by water damage after an incident in the construction area out front on Saturday:
We had an unfortunate incident this past weekend at TAP Centre for Creativity. We had a major mud and water flood in our basement – the first time in 20 years we have had water come in the front, Dundas-facing side of our building. Not just water, but a very thick layer of mud and several inches of water that came rushing in strong enough to knock over containers and items stored in the basement. This happened during dry weather after a water pipe burst during the night across the street in the construction area of Dundas Street.
As you likely know, we are located in a heritage building. Our basement contains storage for theatre, risers, art work, supplies, and general storage as well as historical documents, archives and some heritage items from Rowland Hill’s shoe store – our predecessors in the building. In the entire time we have been in this building, we have not had water in the front sections of the basement which are original to the building.
As a proud and active organization in our downtown core, we are completely supportive of the work being done to revitalize Dundas Street. We experienced a significant decline in visitors last year when the other section of Dundas was closed and we are prepared for further implications as our section is closed this year. Ultimately what the flex street is going to do for our organization and hopefully our neighbours, is going to benefit our work and the artists we are supporting at TAP.
We support the work of the city, Dundas Place and the kind and accommodating construction crews that are in turn, supporting us when we ask for help with loading in sets, shows etc.
The flood happened on a Saturday afternoon and two of our staff and a few volunteers were left to mitigate 4 inches of water in parts of the basement on their own. We are now in a difficult situation of having a basement full of items that need to be removed, relocated or thrown out due to water damage with no access to the only exit we have out onto Dundas Street. We have been told that this will likely need to resolve through long term legal and insurance claims and despite everyone’s best intentions, there is no clear explanation about how the damage occurred. That being said, we were told by construction officials (after the pipe burst across the street) that there was a water pipe that burst across the street the night before and there was a notable sink hole at the intake pipe location for our building out front on Saturday.
Understanding that this may take a significant amount of time to resolve, we have no choice but to seek support from our community who has so generously stepped in to help us over the past 20 years. We must address the immediate impact on our own and will likely have to go to the community to ask for donations to cover the deductible (or the clean up costs completely if insurance decides not to cover the claim) and to find volunteers to help us clear out the damaged items in the basement.
We want to be a positive contributor to this project and the work being done to revitalize Dundas Street. We also feel very strongly that the City should be resolving this issue or at least contributing to the resolution of the immediate needs. Also on behalf of our neighbours we are respectfully requesting that the City provide financial and organizational support for issues that are arising from this construction both in the immediate (clean up, assessment, etc.) and long term.
We are a little but mighty arts organization that is part of the cultural sector in London that contributes an estimated $540 million each year to our economy. Last year we brought over 16,000 people downtown.
If you are available to meet with us to discuss this issue, it would be very much appreciated. Please note that we will also be sharing this letter publicly as we feel there is advocacy needed on behalf of our neighbours and those that are also being impacted by these types of construction challenges.
We look forward to your response.