Regina Buddhist centre may get funding from city to replace boiler

The City of Regina is set to pitch in to help a local Buddhist centre that has been without heat for more than a month. 

On Dec. 12, the Buddhist Centre of Regina's reverend found their boiler engulfed in flames. 

Rev. Uttam Barua shut down the boiler. The centre has been using portable heaters since to prevent the pipes from freezing. 

A new boiler is estimated to cost around $40,000. Now, the City of Regina may help out. 

The Buddhist Centre of Regina submitted a grant request under the Heritage Building Rehabilitation Program. Under the program, municipal heritage sites can receive 50 per cent of funds for a project, to a maximum of $50,000. 

The centre is located in the former Albert Library. The library first opened in 1927 was declared a municipal heritage site in 1984. The Buddhist centre bought the building in 2018. 

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The Buddhist Centre of Regina received two estimates for a new boiler: $41,400 and $37,400 — before taxes. The city is using the lower estimate for the grant. The Buddhist Centre is then eligible for around $18,700.

On Wednesday, the City of Regina finance and administration committee voted in favour of the grant. It will now go before city council on Jan. 29. 

"I'm so happy for this moment," Rev. Barua said. "It is very kind." 

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The centre has crowdfunded about $10,000 so far through GoFundMe and people have been showing support by dropping off donations in person as well, Rev. Barua said. 

The centre needs the support or they wouldn't be able to manage getting a new boiler, he said. It's important because a variety of people come visit, he said. 

"It's not only the Buddhist centre — but this centre is helping to many different faith," Barua said. "They give us a variety of hope for the future. I'm very grateful." 

Earlier this month, volunteers helped prepare the boiler space for the centre by removing the old boiler. 

Heidi Atter/CBC