Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Frozen pipes plague Foon Hai

Exchange restaurant closed for weeks

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Foon Hai Restaurant owner Stanley Dare has not had water in since March 3 due to frozen pipes. He is on a 3 week waiting list with the city for thawing.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Foon Hai Restaurant owner Stanley Dare has not had water in since March 3 due to frozen pipes. He is on a 3 week waiting list with the city for thawing. Photo Store

A frozen water pipe has closed the doors of Foon Hai -- a longtime Chinese restaurant in the Exchange District -- for more than a month.

Restaurant owner Stanley Dare said the city told him it could be the end of this month before rice, dumplings and various dishes are cooked again when water finally flows through his taps.

"We've had no water since March 3," Dare said this week of the William Avenue restaurant.

"They tried a couple of things. They tried getting the water going again, but the pipe is frozen about 10 feet out into the street.

"Now we're waiting for the city to excavate."

But while Foon Hai has been closed for the longest time in its 30-year history, some bills don't stop, including hydro.

Dare said the restaurant had a full freezer and refrigerator when it was forced to close. It was thought it would reopen in a few days.

But Dare said in the weeks since, a lot of the food had to be thrown out.

Dare said he has decided against trying to connect with an adjoining property owner to get water because the pressure wouldn't be enough for him to run his dishwasher, sinks and patron washrooms.

He said he's confident the restaurant will open again -- even though he will have lost two months of business -- but what worries him most is whether his staff of six will still be with him.

"All my employees have been laid off," he said. "I'm just hoping none of the employees look for other jobs, but I guess I'll see."

A spokeswoman for the city's water and waste department said city crews tried thawing the pipe on March 27 with a hot-water injection unit, but it was unsuccessful.

The spokeswoman said the next step is using the specialized DBH electrical thawing machine, but to do that crews will have to excavate part of the street to get to the pipe. She said it will be more than a week before that can be done and until then a city-installed hose line is not an option.

Coun. Mike Pagtakhan (Point Douglas) said it's terrible Foon Hai has been without water for as long as it has.

"I can't imagine Mr. Dare being very happy," Pagtakhan said.

"He has been there a long time. It is his livelihood. I'd encourage him to make a claim with the city. Every citizen has the right to make a claim if they believe it to be negligence by the city."

Meanwhile, Dare said he received a further blow when he spoke to his restaurant's insurance agent.

"We have business interruption coverage but they say freezing pipes is not covered," he said.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 11, 2014 B3

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