Fourth flood this year brings ceiling tiles crashing down again
LETHBRIDGE – Workers at the Melcor Centre in Lethbridge fear for their safety and the safety of Albertans visiting the worksite after the fourth serious flood in the last four months.
“On Sunday, there was another flood caused by problems with overhead pipes that brought ceiling tiles crashing down into workspaces,” says Darren Graham, vice-president of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE), which represent 95,000 Alberta workers, including more than 250 employed by the Government of Alberta (GOA) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) at the Melcor Centre.
So far this year, three of these floods have happened in the GOA offices, where AUPE members work for the department of Children’s Services. One flood has hit the part of the facility where AHS operates. There have been at least eight floods since 2014.
“This building is dangerous. The thought of heavy ceiling tiles falling on the heads of children is haunting our members,” says Graham.
“Children and parents visit the Children’s Services department frequently and Albertans visit the AHS facility regularly. We call on the government and AHS to act now before someone is hurt,” he says.
“This old building simply cannot be fixed. There have been problems there for years, with frequent flooding. There has been a serious mould problem. There are black widow spiders, silver fish and mice in the building. Members report that they have been trapped in elevators and that the stairs are unsafe,” says Graham.
“We have been pushing for years for the employers to find new, safer workplaces. We hear lots of platitudes and concern expressed, but nothing is done to find a permanent solution. A few repairs are made and the workers just wait for the next time something comes crashing down on their work stations – or their heads,” he adds.
“Our members are frustrated and angry. They want to do their jobs and care for Albertans, not to be put in danger when they come to their worksite. New facilities must be found now, not in a year or two years. Let’s not wait until someone, maybe a child, is seriously injured.”
AUPE VP Darren Graham is in Lethbridge and is available for comment.
For information, please contact Terry Inigo-Jones, communications officer, at 403-831-4394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.