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'Mechanical issues' preventing Regina's Carmichael Outreach from expanding warming centre hours


Regina’s Carmichael Outreach says mechanical issues will keep the facility from being able to expand its emergency warming centre hours for the foreseeable future.

Beginning Tuesday, Carmichael was set to make its warming centre available to those in need from 7:30 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. seven days per week until the end of May.

However, according to Executive Director Tyler Gelsinger, the building currently does not have a sufficient natural gas service that would allow the appropriate flow of gas to keep the building warm for both its regular hours and the recently announced extended hours.

“We are working actively with SaskEnergy at this time to just get the problem resolved, no price tag has been passed along or anything like that,” he told CTV News.

“Previous operations gave us some downtime to allow the lines to fill but because we are in constant use, we have no heat, hot water, or even gas for the kitchen,” development coordinator Chrysta Garner said in a news release on Tuesday.

Garner said that last week Carmichael experienced a similar situation that forced them to shut down after lunch in order for them to be operational in the evening. For now, the shelter will be making efforts to ensure they can keep their current hours of operation.

“To conserve power, we are reducing to sandwiches and pasta salads for the week because with the centre being open in the evening now our consumption has gone up. So we are trying to conserve as much energy as possible so we can stay open in the evening,” Gelsinger explained.

The warming centre initially opened on Jan. 23 following a $300,000 grant from the City of Regina and was meant to replace a city transit bus that was being utilized as a warming shelter.

However, staff at Carmichael are optimistic that the current bumps in the road will not hinder their ability to continue as a warming shelter.

“What happened was no fault of ours,” Gelsinger added. “They just have the wrong part on our gas line and they just have to come in and fix it so we’re actively working with them to get that done.”

The warming centre can hold approximately 60 people. Its regular hours of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. were announced when the shelter opened last month.

The warming shelter will continue to be open from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. each day, with Carmichael Outreach also open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“Essentially it is just a place for people just to warm up and rest at the tables that we provide,” Gelsinger said at the initial opening in January.

“It’s just a little gathering spot for people.”

In a statement to CTV News, SaskEnergy said it could not comment on any specific case in order to protect customer privacy.

However, the Crown did explain that upgrading existing services to meet changing demand for natural gas is a regular occurance.

"SaskEnergy gas meters are designed to meet customer capacity at the time of installation," the statement read. "When additional gas is required at a property, existing services may require an upgrade to accommodate the increased gas requirements. SaskEnergy regularly works with customers to determine the best solution to meet future capacity needs."

-- With files from Wayne Mantyka. Top Stories

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