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

Just Posted

Co-creatorsAdrianna Hatton and Malcolm McKenzie stand next to the little free library revealed Sunday at 9710 First St. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Literary crowd helps opens little free library in Sidney

Located at 9710 First St., the book sharing box features original art and reclaimed wood

Deep Cove Elementary School principal Shelley Hardcastle (right) and vice-principal Mary Kaercher help to restock Reay Creek with fish – in this case, coho fry – after a recent bleach spill killed hundreds of fish. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich’s Deep Cove Elementary School helps to restock Sidney’s Reay Creek

Restocking followed bleach spill that killed hundreds of fish in creek

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read