Today Calgary Economic Development and Calgary Chamber held a Business Recovery Task Force Commemoration sharing stories from local businesses impacted by 2013 flooding.
Also released at the event was an Emergency Business Contact Database to help facilitate communication and collaboration between the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) and the business community during emergencies such as natural disasters.
“During an emergency, situations can change very quickly and it is vital to keep business up to date,” said Calgary Chamber President and CEO Adam Legge in a release. “The database will allow all Calgary businesses to receive relevant business related information that will help them not only withstand an emergency, but help them get up and running faster when it is over.”
Here’s some quotes from the commemoration:
Adam Legge, president and CEO, Calgary Chamber
“We’d like to thank the entire community and everybody who participated, whether it was baking a cake, or passing around food, or actually putting on some boots and helping dig out a basement, we all came together and that’s what today is meant to embody.”
Naheed Nenshi, Calgary Mayor
“We have been commemorating over the last month or so, of course, one of the greatest challenges we’ve ever faced as a community. And it was a month ago that we had the anniversary of the flood, we both commemorated and celebrated what we did.
“… Certainly we’re commemorating something that was pretty awful, something that led to a lot of despair, a lot of agony, a lot of pain for many of our neighbours and many small businesses in the community, but I also use the word celebrate – it sounds so weird – how do you celebrate something that was so awful? But I use that word because there is something to celebrate, we’re celebrating the spirit of the community and how we came together.”
Lindsey Gallow, director communications, marketing and sales, Calgary Zoo
“We began to evacuate as many animals off this island as we could and I’ve got to tell you, there was no game plan for that. That day we made it up as we went along. If there’s a story that resonates across the whole community of people coming together, this is that moment here at the Calgary Zoo where you had people, myself, office workers, helping move animals. So I can recall vividly that night going into the tiger cages and the lion cages lifting the animals up on a tarp to get them in some moveable crates so we could get them off the island.”
Brendan Bankowski, Taste: A neighbourhood kitchen and lounge
“We were running an onsite catering that night and we had a full house in the restaurant, we asked people to pay their bill and leave, that was hard on me. I was somewhat incredulous as we’re a long ways from both rivers. I’ve lived in Calgary 20 years but I still couldn’t quite understand how the water would get to us but we closed up the shop, went home and realized how serious the situation was.
“The flood water never actually reached the restaurant, we were about 100 per cent dry, but the water stopped about half a block short. The water flooded the underground parkade but not us. However, we were closed for eight days as we were in the evacuation zone and we had no power. We lost about $10,000 in food that went rotten in our fridges and eight days of sales. That’s obviously not as bad as other businesses but a pretty serious gut punch for us.”