Seniors bake in Olds' hot new lodge
“Hot. Hotter than hell.”
That’s how resident Allan Anderson, 76, described what it felt like inside Mount View Lodge in Olds during last week’s heat wave.
The facility at 5230-50 St. was officially opened in June 2011, but one item that was not included in the $21.3-million final cost for the project was an air-conditioning system.
“I can’t figure out why they went to all that expense and never put air conditioning in,” Anderson said Wednesday, while sitting on a bench outside the lodge entrance smoking a cigarette in 26 C weather.
“They put a whole bunch of fans in there, but they didn’t do much at all,” he said of staff’s efforts to cool the lodge’s common areas, adding that his room remained hot at night and “not the best” for sleeping.
Cost was one factor leading to the decision not to install air conditioning in the 77-unit facility, Mountain View Seniors’ Housing chief administrative officer Sam Smalldon said in an interview with the Gazette later that day.
The other reason was that “the measures have not been required in other lodges in the county,” Smalldon said. “As a building system, air conditioning hasn’t been installed because it hasn’t been required up to this point.”
But, also for two reasons, that could change, he said.
“One is the risk to resident safety and two is comfort and quality.”
As a result, the board will consider adding air-conditioning systems to all four MVSH lodges as part of its five-year business plan, which Smalldon will be presenting to the board this week.
The housing authority is in the final stages of investing $625,000 on emergency generators in Didsbury and Olds and has allocated $300,000 for security and nurse call systems over the next three years, Smalldon said when asked when funds could be available.
“The next thing would probably be building systems and that would include air conditioning. First we’ll do a review, an assessment, and then an investment plan. Our board is very supportive of investing in risk management.”
Meanwhile, the installation of fans in the new lodge is a first step to address the heat issue, Smalldon said, noting that the rooms are outfitted with “fresh-air windows” (windows that open) and that fans can be placed in individual rooms if residents complain of discomfort. Landscaping scheduled for this summer will provide pathways to a gazebo and create shaded outdoor areas.
“We’re not ignoring it,” Smalldon said.