Kathy Gillis (left) and Joanne Newell (right) say that a high-pitched hum emitted from the Summit, a long-term care facility in the Hillside-Quadra neighbourhood, is having negative effects on their mental and emotional well-being. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Kathy Gillis (left) and Joanne Newell (right) say that a high-pitched hum emitted from the Summit, a long-term care facility in the Hillside-Quadra neighbourhood, is having negative effects on their mental and emotional well-being. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

Victoria neighbours call for an end to ‘high-pitched hum’ from Summit building

CRD says long-term care building is compliant with noise bylaws

Two Hillside-Quadra residents say they’ve been enduring a persistent “hum” since the completion of The Summit, a long-term care facility on Hillside Avenue.

“It gets in my head and my whole disposition changes,” says Joanne Newell. “And I actually just get on my bicycle and leave. I can’t take it.”

Newell and her neighbour, Kathy Gillis, have a list of email addresses and phone numbers from roughly 50 households in the neighbourhood who have also been impacted by the sound, they say.

But the Capital Regional District (CRD), which designed and built the facility on behalf of Island Health, has worked closely with the residents and says decibel readings, both by Victoria bylaw officers and the CRD, are well within acceptable ranges.

“We are well within compliance of bylaw,” said Michael Barnes, senior manager of health and capital planning strategies at the CRD. “We have also done a check with mechanical to make sure that everything was running efficiently and optimally as a result of some of the complaints we received.”

Barnes said both decibel readings were completed in September.

And Newell and Gillis say those readings weren’t done on hot days, when the sound peaks. They describe it as a “high-pitched hum” caused by a chiller on top of the building. The device becomes audible only when temperatures exceed 18 degrees.

“It was debilitating,” Newell said of the summertime. “Because you get mad, you get sad…it just makes your shoulders go up to your ears. You’re just tense.”

READ ALSO: Residents sound off over noise pollution from Saanich health care building

Residents were moved into the Summit, a 320-bed care home at 944 Hillside Ave., in July. The facility replaced the Oak Bay Lodge and Mount Tolmie Hospital. Its opening was delayed several months by COVID-19.

Gillis notes that the impact of the noise they hear was exacerbated by the pandemic, which had many working from home.

“I think for many of us, everyone’s stress was heightened,” she said. “There’s apartment buildings in the area [and] we’ve heard from people there that they couldn’t sit on their balconies, and for many, that’s their most convenient access to nature.”

The neighbours worry that the problem won’t be fixed before temperatures start rising again.

“I think what’s frustrating for us is the pace,” Newell said. “Like how is this all going to be fixed by the spring, is my concern.”

“There’s a lot of goodness to this neighbourhood but it really diminishes it,” she added. “If nothing changes, that idea scares me. Because I can’t live with it. And I will move.”

The CRD is still investigating, according to Barnes, and is working with the manufacturer of the chiller to see if anything else can be done to quiet it.

“We’ve actually since done some tonal adjustments, essentially trying to address the specific hum they’ve heard,” he said. “I’m doing everything I can to try to address their concerns, obviously within reason.”

Barnes said the CRD will try installing ‘baffles’ or ‘blankets’ in an attempt to quiet the chiller.

“It’s very important to the CRD that we’re good neighbours,” he said.

“We’re trying to be as responsive as we can. And then we don’t want there to be something they’re experiencing that’s unpleasant for them.”

In 2018, several residents living near the Heights at Mountain View, a long-term care home operated by Baptist Housing, complained of a “droning” noise emitted from the building, a noise they said worsened with warmer weather.

READ ALSO: Residents welcomed to The Summit in Victoria’s Quadra Village


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Google Maps)
Sophisticated glass-removal crime returns to downtown Victoria

Several businesses on Fort Street targeted overnight, say police

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read