Local Businesses Still Recovering Eight Months After Flood With Help from the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund 

29 June 2022Grants & Funding, News & Announcements

For many community members, the November 2021 floods feel like a distant memory. But for the residents and businesses of Sumas Prairie, it’s a different story: a very vivid one. The impacts of the flooding are very much present in their daily lives, with many businesses still amid recovery today. 

That’s precisely why the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund (ADRF) continues to provide funding to those who are still in need of support. The ADRF was established in partnership with the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and the University of the Fraser Valley to support charities providing essential emergency services to affected families, local farmers and businesses, as well as supporting individual community members and businesses affected by the flood in the recovery process.

Yellow Barn Country Market

The owners of Yellow Barn Country Market, Dale & Kim Hodgins, are reminded of the disastrous impacts each and every day when they walk into their market. Still in the early stages of the recovery, they estimate they sustained $110,000 in damages to their equipment, like fridges and freezers, and $40,000 in lost food products.
Kim shared that it will cost at least $300,000 to recover fully, which is a significant challenge considering they just spent $140,000 to renovate only eight months before the flooding. She also shared that this experience has been emotionally draining for her and her husband. Their business holds sentimental value, given that her mother-in-law opened it as a small corn hut 35 years ago and built it up to what it was before the flooding. 
With no flood insurance or government funding, Kim says it will be financially challenging to reopen. That’s why she was thankful for some funding from the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund via the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce’s business granting stream, which helped them pay for monthly expenses that continue despite the business not operating, like property taxes and electricity. 

Westmount Acres

For Stan and Tara Tolsma, owners of a hay farm called Westmount Acres, they were shocked when the water initially infiltrated their shop in the early stages of flooding. In the 25 years of owning the farm and his entire life living on Sumas Prairie, Stan shared that he had never seen anything like it. 
When water levels started rising, he began moving his farm equipment to higher ground in hopes of saving it. His many hours of hard work paid off, and his equipment sustained only minor damage. Unfortunately, it was a different story for 2,300 bails of hay that could not be moved in time. Stan estimates he lost $50,000 in hay after they were inundated with water, almost causing a fire from the moisture and steam. He shared that he’s so thankful to the Abbotsford Fire Department, who helped him remove the hay bails, preventing an impending barn fire that would have cost him much more.
He’s also thankful for the funding from the provincial government, his insurance provider, and the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund via the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce’s business granting stream, allowing him to recover relatively quickly. Stan is hopeful that preventative measures will be taken to prevent this from happening again, like dredging local rivers and canals, adding more pump stations, and working with the US on mitigation plans. 


The Glen Bar and Grill 

For Ryan Storey, the owner of The Glen Bar and Grill, he wasn’t initially concerned when he noticed some minor flooding outside his restaurant window on the morning of Monday, November 15th. That quickly changed later that day when the water started approaching the restaurant as he watched it infiltrate the building via his security cameras. After a few hours of anxiously watching his restaurant get destroyed by flood waters, the security cameras cut out. Ryan recalls that the water remained for a week or so, but he shared it’s hard to remember the details when you’re in a fog.
Once the flood waters cleared and he was able to enter the restaurant, he learned the full scope of damages. The flood waters had toppled all of the major appliances and food was floating everywhere. Ryan recalls it being a complete disaster. That’s why he’s thankful for their regular customers and his friends from a business called Zone Garage, who came out and helped him clean up the mess.
Ryan estimates that the flooding caused about $300,000 in damages, between loss of food, damage to equipment, and general damages to the restaurant’s interior. He’s glad that insurance paid for a large portion of the damages and that he received some funding through the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund via the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce’s business granting stream, but he says it has still been financially challenging. Without the income from his other restaurant in downtown Abbotsford, La Reina, he’s not sure how he would have gotten through the last eight months. 
Looking forward, Ryan hopes to reopen the restaurant in early August. Renovations are nearing completion, and he is just waiting on some kitchen equipment to get up and running again. He says it’s been a challenge with inflation and manufacturing delays but one he’s been willing to take on because of his love for the business and its customers. Ryan shared he is thankful no one was hurt, that his family is healthy, and that his home is fine.  
It’s evident from speaking with local businesses that recovery continues to be a long journey. That’s why we are committed to maximizing the impact of the funds raised for the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund to meet both short-term and long-term recovery needs. As recovery efforts carry on, we continue to identify and fill the gaps where needed through both the charitable organization and business/farmers granting streams. We are so thankful to each and every individual and business who has donated to the fund, as well as our coalition partners, the University of the Fraser Valley and Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. 
To learn more about the ADRF’s charitable organization funding stream, click here.
To learn more about the ADRF’s businesses and farmers funding steam, click here.


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