Calgary Marine Businesses Begin to Reopen After Floods

Some marine businesses in Calgary, Alberta, have already re-opened their doors after widespread flooding last week forced evacuations. Massive flooding began Thursday night in the low-lying areas across Calgary and other parts of southern Alberta, destroying homes and businesses while forcing residents to evacuate.

"The flooding started on Thursday evening,' says Graham Woods a Retail Associate with Undercurrents, a kayak, canoe and paddleboat dealer located on the south side of the Bow River in Calgary. "We're on the south side of Bowness Road. The north side of Bowness Road was evacuated, so we weren't evacuated. We had no water damage in the store. There was a little bit in the basement below us but we don't that space. We were very lucky that we didn't get affected. We shut down early on Thursday and were closed for Friday and Saturday. We are predicting that for the remainder of the season it will probably be slow for boat sales because a lot of people are putting money back into their homes again or waiting for reimbursement, so they don't have the money to go out and spend on boating. However, for the most part it's back to business as usual for us.'

"The floods have affected us indirectly,' reports Kevin Isabey, Co-owner of Rayburns Marine World, which has a location in Calgary. Rayburns is a dealer of Cobalt, MasterCraft, Regal, Crownline and Misty Harbor boats. "The store itself is sitting high and dry up on the hill overlooking downtown Calgary, so it hasn't been affected physically. Some members of our staff were definitely displaced. Some of them had to be evacuated from their homes Friday and Saturday. As devastating as this has been for our city, the community and surrounding area has reached out to help. We'll be doing our part as well.'

Hyperactive Watersports, a Tigé dealer located in Calgary on the North Side of the Bow River, took to social media to provide its customers updates on the flooding situation. "We at Hyperactive Watersports wish to offer our condolences to everyone in Bragg Creek, Canmore, Calgary, High River, Turner Valley, and everywhere else in southern Alberta affected by this week's flooding,” said the dealership in a message posted on its Facebook page. “Although we were lucky enough not to experience any damages to our location, we know thousands of people were not. To all that are displaced or affected by the floods in any way, stay strong and you are in our thoughts.”

Jeff Bezzeg, General Manager Absolut Watersports, a Calgary-based dealer of Centurion boats, says his business narrowly missed being affected. "We were pretty close to the river but were on a higher spot and we lucked out,' says Bezzeg. "However, if you go three blocks down the street it's complete devastation. We had to shut down for two days. There was a mandatory evacuation on Thursday and Friday. We were about three or four blocks from the flood area. It's receding now but it's going to take a long time to clean up. This has already had an impact on business. I had a boat deal fall apart because of it. The customer was in the area that was hit and lost his house, so he really doesn't need a new boat, he needs to build a house. So this will definitely affect us.'

CBC News reported Monday that Alberta Premier, Alison Redford, said the province approved a $1 billion emergency fund to help rebuild the affected communities.

Parts of downtown Calgary remains closed as utilities are restored and cleanup efforts continue. Public and Catholic schools remain closed in the city but are expected to reopen on June 27.