Regina Buddhist Centre struggling after broken boiler leaves them in the cold

Reverend Uttam Berua is concerned as he looks around his temple. Berua has to wrap a blanket around himself to stay warm as he points out the cracks starting to form in the walls 

Berua is standing in the Buddhist Centre of Regina, located in the former Albert Library on Robinson Street in North Central. 

On Dec. 12, the Reverend saw water all over the boiler room floor and a sea of flames shooting out from the boiler. Everything was shut down and the centre has been without heat since.

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Two small space heaters are warming the temple, but he says they won't be enough when the Saskatchewan weather hits -30C. The estimated cost for a replacement is $45,000. 

"We don't have much," Reverend Berua said. "Our centre is a non-profit."

All events that the Buddhist Centre of Regina had planned over the holidays have been cancelled, including a youth day camp and children's classes. 

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Patron Ken Crowe and his wife donated the portable heaters but they're not meant for large spaces. Everyone has to wear jackets and hats when they arrive to stay warm, he said. 

"It just makes life a whole heck of a lot more difficult and unpleasant," Crowe said. 

Buddhist Centre of Regina first bought the building in June, 2018. The Albert Library was built in 1927 and declared a municipal heritage site in 1984. Crowe said he isn't sure how well maintained the boiler was.

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Crowe said plaster has been cracking throughout the building because the boiler isn't keeping the centre warm.

"It's not holding up great," he said. "But if this continues on it's going to get worse."

Crowe said they are trying to stop the pipes from freezing but they don't know if they can. If the pipes freeze, that might be it for the building, he said. 

"Which is going to be a sad, sad thing to happen," Crowe said. 

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"We are humbly asking the people in Regina and around to show their good heart to support, save this property for future generations," Berua said. 

The centre is fundraising through a GoFundMe page and a Facebook fundraising campaign. Berua said they are also applying for grants with the City of Regina and he's hopeful the city will chip in to restore the building because it's a heritage site. 

People from Thailand, Cambodia, China and other countries feel at home in the centre, Crowe said.

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Berua said people have reached out from other religions and other cities to help but it's not enough yet. 

"We still are expecting more support from our people because without that we can't afford the replacement."

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