City backhoe hits building

A city backhoe hit the United Tax Group building on Centre Street last week, damaging the front wall of the business.

By Mac Christie

A construction accident damaged the wall of a business on Centre Street Oct. 31, postponing the grand opening of a new business venture.

The wall was damaged by a city backhoe that was working to repair a sewer line running to United Tax Group.

Pat Bencharski, a bookkeeper with the company, was on the telephone with a client when the accident happened.

“There was a huge bang, I was scared and I said a few choice words,” she said. “We can see the outside through the cracks.”

The company was planning on holding the grand opening for a travel agency this week, but the damage caused them to postpone it.

“It’s the worst time it could happen for the travel business,” Bencharski noted. “We’re hoping to be up and running again by January.”

However, Bencharski added, it’s the best time the incident could happen for the accounting business.

The wall is currently braced, and the company is waiting for an insurance adjustor to inspect the building.

A look at the damage from the inside of the building.

“We’re hoping it’s covered by insurance,” Bencharski said, adding the side walls of the building were also cracked when the workers were pounding the sidewalk, shaking the building.

City manager Bruno Kossmann said the city has insurance for instances like this one, adding the Occupational Health and Safety committee investigated the incident.

While he doesn’t think these kind of incidents happen often, one time is too many.

But he noted sometimes accidents happen.

“Sometimes as much as you try to avoid them, unfortunately they do,” Kossmann said. “When they do you have to work (to fix them).”


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