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Flag Found Among Calgary City Hall Debris A Symbol Of Pride; Building Still Weeks Away From Opening

08/08/2013 03:33 EDT | Updated 08/09/2013 11:49 EDT

Often a symbol of national pride, a silt-covered Canadian flag found in the bowels of Calgary's City Hall has become an emblem of the hard work by the city's flood recovery workers.

According to the Calgary Herald, crews working to clean out the muddied basement of the Administration Building came across the Maple Leaf flag, covered by trash and dirt.

“One of the fellows recognized a flag in there and said, ‘This isn’t going out,’” Grant Sommerfeld, facilities manager for city hall, told the Herald.

Instead, the flag was duct taped to a wall where crew members - some of whom had been putting in 100-hour work weeks, reports the Calgary Sun - began to add their signatures.

The flag, which has never been cleaned, continues to collect signatures of those who worked the frontline clean-up efforts across the city, and, according to the Sun, will eventually have a permanent home in City Hall.

“I don’t know where it’s going to wind up but that flag is staying here for good. Somewhere forever. I’ll make sure of that," Sommmerfiled promised the Herald.

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But while recovery efforts have been underway for the past six weeks at Calgary's municipal headquarters, there's still weeks of work to be done.

Most of the 2,000 employees are still not able to work at City Hall, and 1,300 continue to work remotely, reports CBC News.

The city told CTV News crews pumped 55 million litres of water (12 ft.) out of the building's basement - approximately the same volume as 22 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Furniture, appliances and debris were found floating in the basement of the Administration Building and teams removed 64 dumpsters of debris and silt.

Officials told media on a press tour Wednesday the price tag on repairs currently sits at $27 million, but is expected to grow.

The seven-level Civic Plaza Parkade - one of the hardest hit areas - will cost almost $4 million, alone, to repair and won't be open until December.

As well, reports Global News, power remains an issue and three large generators power the building while lighting, elevators, and mechanical systems are replaced.

Corporate Services Manager Brad Stevens told the Calgary Sun it's expected the city will be able to claim some costs through insurance.

One saving grace, however, was the city's decision to move the main data centre from the building to a secret location months before the flood.

If not, Calgary.ca, 311 and emergency management would have had "fairly significant service interruptions,” Charles Taylor, chief information technology officer, told Metro Calgary.

As a result, he said, “information technology services remained fully available and fully functional during the crisis.”

According to the Herald, officials estimate City Hall will reopen sometime early September.

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EPCOR Centre/City Hall Flood Photos