The snapping noises were the first signs, then the cracks over head.
Within minutes, the whole ceiling at the Cool Aid Society’s REES program centre (Resource Education Employment Support) came crashing down Thursday.
Luckily, the staff and volunteers had taken heed of the warning signs and all got out in time – there were no injuries, said Irene Haigh-Gidora, manager of community health services.
“At the moment, we’re looking for temporary space. We need about 2,000 square feet for the program to come together and to function,” she said.
Under the REES program umbrella, Cool Aid administers its Every Step Counts program – a running and walking network – its casual labour pool, a mentoring program for people looking for work, and phone and internet access to Victoria’s vulnerable population.
The program ran out of the first floor of the York Hotel, at 707 Johnson St., which Cool Aid rents. Haigh-Gidora said the building was renovated two years ago.
Cool Aid staff haven’t yet assessed the damage to their equipment. There were phones and several computers inside that might be affected.
Without the space, staff and volunteers are contacting clients to let them know the space isn’t useable. In the interim, some programs will run on the street. But Cool Aid is seeking a place to set up shop until repairs are complete.
Property owners, management firms or offices that can provide space can call Alan Rycroft at 250-414-4781. Cash donations are accepted at www.coolaid.org/donate, by phone or in person.
Cool Aid clients can call 250-383-1977 for information about the programs.