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

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read