Low-income seniors who live in the Kingsway Court highrise at 5560 Inman Avenue will be without power for 12 to 14 hours on Monday.
B.C. Hydro is shutting down power to the building from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to Jaco Notebloom, who sits on the board for the 10-storey residence.
Because it is a seniors' residence, there are more challenges with this situation than with other buildings, he pointed out.
"It's dealing with that vulnerable segment of the market," he said. "Because the building is restrictive in access, because there's no power, and you've got vulnerable people, it becomes a bit of an issue."
The board tried to get generators to provide electricity for the day, but it would cost about $8,000 to have a generator keep one elevator going," Notebloom said.
He's concerned that the food in residents' fridges and freezers could be affected, but also, medicine that has to be refrigerated.
"It's small stuff, but for the people concerned, these are big, big things for them," he said.
There are 113 suites in total, but Notebloom is most worried about 20 to 30 particularly vulnerable residents - those with mobility and health issues.
There are notices posted in the building about the outage, but some residents can't read English, he said.
Notebloom plans to be on site at 7 a.m. to assist and inform the people living in the building about what's happening.
The board plans to accommodate the residents outside of the building as much as possible, as the elevators won't be working and many cannot handle the stairs.
Room is being made for residents at Kingsway Foursquare Church, but the church already has other programs going on, including a day care, Notebloom said.
"We'll deal with it, he said. "One way or another, you make it work."
B.C. Hydro is replacing switchgear in the building, according to Simi Heer, spokesperson for the company, who said it is a complicated process.
"It's not work you can stop in between," she explained. "If you did that, everyone would be without power until we come back to resume it."
B.C. Hydro is also doing work on underground cables and overhead equipment simultaneously, to prevent future outages, she added.
"I fully understand that 12 hours can seem like a significant amount of time," Heer said. "But it's something that must be done, and the circuit absolutely has to be de-energized for that work to be completed, for it to be safe for crews to do."
Kingsway Court was given two weeks' notice about the outage, she said.
B.C. Hydro is replacing switchgear throughout the province because the equipment is old and near end-of-life, Heer said.
© Copyright 2013