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As water continues to pour down University, the city is denying the existence of a second break, saying instead that the last valves connecting to the broken 48-inch diameter pipe which unleashed yesterday’s flood have yet to be closed.
“We’ve stopped about 95 per cent of the flow, but there’s about 5 per cent left,” City of Montreal press representative Philippe Sabourin told The Daily. “We’re in control of the situation.”
The Montreal Gazette quoted another city official, Jacques-Alain Lavallée, as saying earlier that there was in fact a second, smaller break in a 54-inch diameter main connected to the McTavish reservoir.
A phone call to Lavallée by The Daily was re-directed to Sabourin.
McGill, on the other hand, has reported that the water flowing down University emanates from a break in an 8-inch pipe near the site of the original broken water main.
“We continue to have water flowing on to the campus from this second leak, which is being joined on the roadway in front of the Wong and Rutherford buildings by water being pumped from flooded buildings,” school officials posted to the McGill website this morning.
“I spoke to the Service de l’eau, to the borough of Ville-Marie, and I don’t have any information regarding a second break,” Sabourin said. “Maybe there’s confusion because there is still water flowing, but there is no second break.”
At McGill, classes were cancelled in both the Birks and Wilson buildings, and classes in the Wong building have been relocated elsewhere on campus. The north entrance to the McConnell Engineering building has been closed, although classes are not cancelled in the building. School officials warned students to avoid the Milton Gates entrance to campus, as University remained flooded, and to enter instead via the Roddick Gates.
Service Point, the Welcome Centre, and the James Administration building are closed, and the monthly Board of Governors meeting scheduled for today – where a new principal was to be elected – has been moved to February 12.
At a press conference on Tuesday, VP (Administration & Finance) Michael Di Grappa told reporters that the damage incurred by the flooding could result in costs of “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
“Some buildings will be re-opened by the weekend, other buildings, such as the annex of the James building, might take months before people can [go back to work],” he said in French.
Approximately 80 classes were cancelled, according to Di Grappa.
SSMU has announced that the Shatner building is open today, and that a rescheduled SSMUfest will go on.
—with files from Laurent Bastien Corbeil