THUNDER BAY — The district social services board is working to fix a nagging problem with the elevators in the Jasper Place apartment complex adjacent to the Pioneer Ridge long-term care home.
It's a 100-unit supportive housing building for singles or couples 60 years old and over, with a mix of rent-geared-to-income and market rent tenants.
Issues with the electronic systems have put one elevator – sometimes both – out of service at various times in recent months.
There were an average of only one or two service calls per month until this summer, when the frequency increased to eight in August, 14 in September, and 12 in the first two weeks of this month alone.
Georgina Daniels, corporate services director for the Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board, says the breakdown rate is at the point where a decision has been made to update the electronic controls ahead of what was previously planned.
"We have expedited that. The order has already gone into the factory. We're not waiting until 2022 at this point," Daniels said.
Although it could be several months before the new components can be installed, DSSAB hopes to buy some time with interim repairs.
Daniels said the board is trying its best to minimize the inconvenience to the residents and their families.
"The nice thing is that there is support staff in that building. They have been working with us. We certainly couldn't do it without them, that's for sure."
A local resident who contacted TBNewswatch called Jasper Place a "wonderful facility," and praised the staff for their efforts to deal with "a potentially dangerous situation," but complained that it's taking too long to get the elevators fixed.
One of the elevators was offline this week pending interim repairs, but was back in service Thursday after new but temporary electronic boards were installed in both elevators.
"They are complex systems. They are not that easy to fix...Hence the reason there are so many regulations and why they are inspected annually," Daniels said.
She noted that DSSAB has a detailed emergency plan that would be invoked in Jasper Place in the event that residents needed to get out of the building quickly.
NOTE: A previous version of this story has been updated to include new information from DSSAB Thursday afternoon indicating both elevators are now working after new but temporary electronic boards were installed. A spokesperson said DSSAB still plans to fully modernize the elevator controls in the coming months