Corinella and District Community Centre vice president Anwyn Martin and manager Iain Ritchie are pleased the centre is almost back to normal after a plumbing malfunction forced the site to close for three weeks. Ian is holding the faulty tap that’s to blame.
By Gav Ross
THE first sign that something had gone horribly wrong at the Corinella and District Community Centre (CDCC) was the faint sound of running water.
New centre manager Iain Ritchie furrowed his brow as he heard the noise moments after unlocking the front door of the Smythe Street building on the morning of March 17.
Listening intently, he took a few steps into the foyer until he reached the carpet.
That’s when he felt and heard an unmistakable ‘squelch’ underfoot and his heart sank.
Practically the entire building was flooded, with the kitchen some 50mm under water.
“I just felt absolute dread,” Iain said as he recalled hurrying around the premises to check the extent of the damage.
“All I could see was wet carpet everywhere I looked.”
The culprit, it turned out, was a rusty mixer tap connection under the kitchen sink.
“I was the last to leave at 4pm the night before, and I reckon it must have popped soon after that because the volume of water in the place was just incredible.”
The centre was immediately closed, and after spending hours mopping up what they could, Iain and centre volunteers began trying to dry out multiple water-logged rooms with an array of drying appliances.
“The smell was absolutely putrid,” Iain added.
“All you could smell was dirty old wet carpet.”
Since the carpet had been laid 25 years ago when the council-managed building first opened, this is somewhat understandable.
A few days after the incident, contractors sent on behalf of council’s insurance company arrived to rip up every shred of carpet and underlay in the place.
Only a select few rooms managed to escape unscathed.
Iain said it’s lucky there hadn’t been other items and equipment damaged.
“We had a computer server on the carpet and it didn’t turn on after it had been quickly unplugged.
“Some technicians checked it though and the data was saved.
“We also lost a freezer full of food because the fridge in the kitchen had shorted, but that’s
All scheduled classes, art and playgroup sessions were cancelled and the Nurse Practitioner was required to reschedule appointments to her other location, the Grantville Transaction Centre, after all carpet in the CDCC consulting room had to be ripped up.
After over 20 days, the centre re-opened to the public in a limited capacity last week.
“We have access to the computers running again and we’ve had a few classes,” Iain said.
“Everyone has been very understanding, but they were also horrified when they found out what had happened.”
CDCC vice president and life member, Anwyn Martin, said she was proud of the fact everyone banded together to get through what has been the greatest challenge the centre has ever faced.
“It was all hands to the pump!” she exclaimed.
“The community has been deprived of the facility, of course, but it was wonderful to see everyone rallying together.”
Iain also praised Bass Coast Shire Council for its quick response to the situation.
“They’ve been fantastic in helping to get the place back up and running.
“They sorted contractors very fast.”
New carpet was scheduled to be installed sometime this week, just in time for the release of the centre’s Term 2 program.
A few of the exciting additions to the program include a thorough Writing course with Coronet Bay scribe Graeme Clay and ‘Stories of Yesterday’ – a series of local history stories followed by a bus trip to local historic sites.
A date for an informal ‘re-opening event’ is also due to be confirmed this week, which will also be a good chance for those who haven’t met Iain yet to introduce themselves.
Replacing Sally Whelan, Iain was appointed centre manager earlier this year and brings a wealth of experience in the community and neighbourhood house field.
In his new role, Iain plans on working together with similarly-minded centres and is hoping to expand the facilities and resources for Corinella, Jam Jerrup, Grantville, Pioneer Bay and Tenby Point.
Keep up to date with news and events at the centre by visiting www.corinellacommunitycentre.org.au