John Viviers, owner of Dumela Coffee and Ice Cream in Rupert Square Mall, proactively closed his new business for four days after the boil water notice, until the environmental health officer ensured that his water was safe for hot drinks. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

John Viviers, owner of Dumela Coffee and Ice Cream in Rupert Square Mall, proactively closed his new business for four days after the boil water notice, until the environmental health officer ensured that his water was safe for hot drinks. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Impacts on businesses under ongoing boil water notice

Some Prince Rupert businesses look to install filtration systems to avoid future hiccups

For more than three weeks, the city of Prince Rupert has been under a boil water notice, and businesses have felt the sting.

Two microparasites, giardia and cryptosporidium were discovered in the city’s water triggering a boil water notice on Dec. 14. There are more than 1,000 businesses across the city, and with no end in sight — the city requires multiple clear test results before the notice can be lifted — some are installing their own filtration systems.

“It’s definitely has an impact on sales overall,” said Scott Farwell, general manager of The Crest Hotel.

The lounge and restaurant can’t serve drinks with ice, and the coffee makers are hooked up to city water. They’ve resorted to making coffee out of homestyle coffee machines, and they’re unable to offer specialty coffee.

“We’re going to install filtration systems at all our facilities in the restaurant and lounge area. It will allow us to filter our water and treat it so we’re not affected by upcoming events that may occur,” Farwell said.

“We have a backup generator in case the power goes out, but never had to tackle the water. It wasn’t as common, but maybe it will be in the future, you never know.”

Commercial water filtration systems can cost between $400 – $1,600. To offer filtered water for coffee and ice machines, the cost ranges from $400-600, and to cover an entire restaurant, including all the taps, it would cost approximately $1,600.

One dentist in the city had to shut down her clinic for a day after the boil water notice was issued.

“We’ve been affected quite a bit. Our line was a city water line so the first day we were notified I had to totally shut down my clinic and I had to arrange for a water supply that can attach to my chairs. Right now I have two chairs [out of four] running,” said Dr. Gursimran Brar.

Since she didn’t have all her chairs running, one of her dental hygienists was without work for a week.

“It’s quite a pain,” Dr. Brar said, adding that she expected the notice to be lifted by Christmas. “I had to buy more equipment to operate another chair.”

Many of the other dental clinics have their own filtration systems and weren’t affected in the same way.

Northern Health spokesperson, Eryn Collins, said the environmental health officer hasn’t done any specific inspections following the boil water notice, all the permitted facilities are on the same inspection schedule.

“We’re not aware of any businesses that had to cease business due to the boil water notice. If they have, they’ve done it proactively,” Collins said.

The environmental health officer in town has spoken with a “fair number of businesses” that have contacted him with questions about the risk, but according to Northern Health, no one has reached out to say they can’t do business because of the boil water notice.

The new coffee shop, Dumela Coffee and Ice Cream, at the Rupert Square Mall proactively closed for three days until their facility was cleared by Northern Health’s environmental health officer.

“We did the test, we had to run the water, and they measured how hot it came out and how long it stayed hot, about 160 degrees, so then we had to call him back and said it stays hot for more than five minutes and he said in that case we can sell. It took about four days,” said Maggie Viviers, Rupert Square Mall manager.

“We can sell everything, even specialty coffee because our water comes in 176 degrees.”

Everything but frozen yogurt, one of the shop’s most popular items.

“If I take the average day that we served frozen yogurt it turns out to about $250 a day that we’re losing on one item,” Viviers said.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert’s water still isn’t safe to drink

Her husband, John, opened the business on Dec. 3, 2018, and they’re not quite finished adding to the shop, but they want to wait for the boil water notice to be lifted before they add any more food items.

“We just started out, and you don’t want to take any chances,” John said.

At Seal Cove Neighbourhood Pub, the boil water notice has become a bit of a headache for the restaurant. They’ve been boiling water daily for cleaning vegetables, cooking and washing dishes.

“We serve a lot of salads and when you’re serving raw products you have to boil the water first then let it cool. It’s a daily added extra to us,” said Dan Gunn, general manager.

The city is expected to receive another test result on Jan. 8, but multiple clear test results must be received before the notice will be lifted, and the holidays delayed timely results.

Daily challenges will continue to burden city businesses until the notice is lifted, unless of course, they can invest in a commercial filtration system.

To report a typo, email: editor@thenorthernview.com.


Shannon Lough | Editor
Shannon Lough 
Send Shannon email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Kitimat RCMP are requesting assistance locating 24-year-old Teah Wilken, who was last seen getting on a bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23). Kitimat RCMP Facebook photo.
Kitimat RCMP requesting assistance locating missing woman

Wilken last seen getting on bus at City Centre Mall in Kitimat around 6:30 p.m. Monday (Nov. 23)

Maria Lewis president of the Prince Rupert Royal Canadian Legion accepts a $5,000 donation gifted via an artillery shell from Shawn MacDonald governor of the Prince Rupert Loyal Order of the Moose 1051 on Nov. 13.
Major donation overwhelms Prince Rupert Legion

Prince Rupert Moose Lodge 1051 donates $5,000 to local veterans organization

Air Canada /Jazz flight AC8280 on Nov. 16 from Vancouver to Prince Rupert had a confirmed case of COVID-19, said Air Canada on Nov. 20. (File photo)
Flight into city had confirmed case of COVID-19

Nov. 16 flight from Vancouver to Prince Rupert affected by coronavirus

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Most Read