Wilf’s closed indefinitely


“At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, the floor drains in the kitchen and bar area started backing up with a forceful flow of water. We’re talking about water that’s bubbling out of the floor drain.”

Michael McMahon, general manager of Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union, explained why it was that Wilf’s was suddenly closed for the weekend and consequently indefinitely for the next six weeks. The drainage system for Wilf’s kitchen and washrooms failed, causing sewage and black water to back up into the establishment.

The flood affected the majority of Wilf’s front-of-house and kitchen and also was running down the stairs and in the elevator for more than two hours. “This was a sewer back-up, and is what in the restoration industry is called a ‘category three’ or black water back-up, loaded up with anything that can be drained into a sanitary drain —kitchens, washrooms, grease traps, the works,” he explained.
McMahon also reported extensive damage in the Terrace to both the ceilings above Pizza Pizza and Harvey’s, closing both establishments at least for the remainder of this week. The Waterloo Region Public Health office had to be called in for sanitary inspections due to the nature of the leak.

“So, we’re very diligently working to fix everything, the ceiling tiles have been replaced, everything has been sanitized, we’re working with Public Health today and hopefully we’ll be reopening Harvey’s and Pizza Pizza on Monday,” he said. WLUSU assured in a media release that the space will be clean and safe for students before re-opening.

McMahon also assured that WLUSU is well-covered by insurance and that there should be minimal costs associated with the cleanup and repair. “We’re confident that we will work with our insurance company and restoration professionals to bring everything back in line. There will be a very minimal, at the end of the day, financial imposition on the Students’ Union.”

In the interim, Aramark will have to deal with the closure, claimed McMahon. “[They’re] essentially our tenant and we’re a tenant of the university. We’re working hard to get them back up and running. A: because they serve the students that we’re working so hard to serve in the food court, let’s get the students back in there, and b: because we want them to see we’re going to be a great landlord through good and bad.”

The cause of the flood was a blockage in the drainage system where several drains converged. “Sort of like a clogged artery,” assistant vice president of physical resources Gary Nower laughed. “It will have to be replaced.” According to McMahon, the drainage system in the dishwashing pit at Wilf’s has been known to be slow for years, especially at busy times.

In the meantime, all Late Night Society events normally held at Wilf’s such as Country Night have been moved to the Turret. As restoration and cleanup progresses, it is too early to tell what the loss in profit will be or if Wilf’s employees will receive compensation. More information will be published as it is made available.

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