Point Ellice House south garden sustains $5,000 in damage

Point Ellice House south garden sustains $5,000 in damage
Point Ellice House Museum & Gardens
Point Ellice House's executive director estimates roughly $5,000 worth of damage was caused to the gardens.

Point Ellice House was planning on hosting a free gardening event in its south garden for Family Day, but recent damage to the garden has meant they had to alter the event.

Early Tuesday morning, a vehicle hit a fire hydrant on Pleasant Street, and the water from the hydrant caused significant damage to the Point Ellice House south garden.

Kelly Black, executive director for Point Ellice House says he discovered the damage when he arrived to work in the morning.

“Every day when I arrive and before I leave, I do a walk around the site, because it’s a big site, it’s two acres. And I came around the corner and notice that there was a bunch of leaves and bark mulch sort of pushed out onto the lawn which is a weird thing to see,” Black said. “So I started following this sort of path of destruction all the way up to the street and through our gardens up to the street, and then I noticed city workers were cleaning up mud and other debris from the streets. So I asked them what happened. And they told me someone knocked over the fire hydrant.”

He says Emterra Environmental across the street caught the incident on security cameras, but the license plate of the vehicle is not able to be made out in the footage.

Black says the damage to the gardens is estimated to be about $5,000.

“The damage is extensive,” Black said. “It’s definitely fixable. But we’re a very small organization. I’m the only full-time staff member and we’re about to reopen to the public this weekend with free Family Day events. So we’ve really been stretched in this event, this damage put a bit of a damper on our reopening.”

Black said the Family Day event will continue on Saturday, but it will take place elsewhere on the grounds of the Point Ellice House.

A spokesperson with Emterra Environmental says their facilities also suffered about $2,000 in damages.

The spokesperson says a retaining wall near the fire hydrant was eroded and damaged, and the truck yards and warehouse got flooded. He says the company had to pump out about 10,000 gallons of water from under the main conveyor in the baling machine.

The museum reached out to the City of Victoria to ask if they would cover the damage, since the fire hydrant is Victoria property, but since a vehicle caused the damage the city won’t accept the claim. ICBC also rejected a claim, since the license plate of the vehicle that caused the damage was not caught on camera.

Additionally, the museum’s insurance does not cover this type of damage, so Black says the museum will need to raise the funds themselves.

“As we’re a provincially owned site there is a chance that we could receive some emergency funding to deal with this, but that’s not a guarantee because of government budgets,” Black said.

Donations can be made on the Point Ellice House website.

Black says the company that helped with the initial restoration will be returning, but there is no availability until mid-March.

“One of the companies that we work with who restored a lot of our pathways will be coming back to do the work just because it’s it’s a historic site, so it requires particular approach to the work,” Black said. “We want to make sure that we bring in the people who did the work originally so we can have it have it look as as it did before the flood.”

Black says before this the museum had spent two years restoring the garden to return it to its historical state, so this damage was quite disheartening after all the hard work that went into the project.

The south garden was a working garden as part of the initial house. It provided the family with food and flowers year round.

The Family Day event will take place on Saturday between 12:30 to 3:30 with free admission.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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