Oliver Woods Community Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)

Oliver Woods Community Centre. (News Bulletin file photo)

Nanaimo seniors’ facility moves residents to community centre to keep cool

Oliver Woods Community Centre offered as respite for Lakeside Gardens residents

A Nanaimo community centre is offering respite from the heat in an emergency.

Residents from Lakeside Gardens Seniors Community were transported Tuesday, June 29, to Oliver Woods Community Centre as a precaution, confirmed VRS Communities, the seniors facility’s owner and operator.

Ken Fraser, executive director of VRS Communities, said residents were uncomfortable and there was a death.

“No one seems to think it was heat-related … but it’s pretty warm in the upper floors,” Fraser said.

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said Nanaimo Fire Rescue was initially called to help move residents to lower floors before a decision was made to involve the city’s emergency management department. Krog said 37 seniors were bused by RDN Transit to the community centre.

Fraser said Lakeside Gardens’ third and fourth floors are the hottest and any residents whose rooms aren’t air-conditioned will be put up at a hotel tonight, June 29. He said the residents would be returning from the community centre to Lakeside Gardens for dinner, as the dining hall is air-conditioned.

He said air-conditioning is not required under licensing.

“We’re going to look at it simply as a project of our own. We probably should assume, with global warming, that this won’t be the last time we see this kind of thing…” Fraser said. “If we’d have seen [40-degree temperatures] coming this spring, we could have addressed it, but unfortunately, on the short notice we got, all we could do is try to prepare for trying to keep people comfortable.”

Krog said the city’s emergency services have been particularly busy during the heat wave.

“It’s a wake-up call because these weather events are not going to diminish over time, I suspect,” he said.

READ ALSO: Nanaimo swelters in record-high temperatures


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