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Buddhist Centre of Regina feeling financial chill after boiler breakdown

Click to play video: 'Buddhist Centre of Regina feeling financial chill after boiler breakdown' Buddhist Centre of Regina feeling financial chill after boiler breakdown
WATCH: The Buddhist Centre of Regina is appealing to the public for donations in the face of a $45,000 bill to replace their building's boiler system. – Dec 26, 2019

Christmas may have come and gone, but a well-loved local organization is asking for another gift — one that could warm the hearts of those who attend it in more ways than one.

The Buddhist Centre of Regina‘s 45-year-old boiler broke down on Dec. 12 and they’ve been battling the freeze with portable space heaters ever since.

A thermostat in the basement of the Buddhist Centre of Regina reads 52 degrees Farhanheit (11 degrees Celcius). File / Global News

Now the donor-funded organization is asking the public for help to cover the costs of replacing the archaic boiler system, which the Buddhist Centre of Regina president Rev. Uttam Barua says could cost around $45,000.

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“I want to humbly request to our brothers and sisters. Please support us and save this building and keep our identity in place,” Barua said.

Click to play video: 'Sand Mandala created at Buddhist Centre of Regina' Sand Mandala created at Buddhist Centre of Regina
Sand Mandala created at Buddhist Centre of Regina – Sep 1, 2019

The building was built in 1927 and was designated as a heritage property in 1984, once housing the Albert Street Library.

The Buddhist Centre of Regina bought the property in 2018 and has since become a well-used destination for faith and worship with visitors from across Saskatchewan and beyond. Programming includes Buddhist teachings, meditation hours and children’s programming.

“We’ve had people come from Moose Jaw and Prince Albert. Many people come to see me and tell me we’re using this building for a very good purpose,” said Barua.

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The centre is collecting donations on location and also online.

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While speaking with Barua, several attendees of the centre told Global News what the building and community mean to them.

“You can imagine coming, immigrating to Canada to a strange new world, if you can have some vestige of familiarity from home, it’s just a warm feeling,” said Ken Crowe, whose wife has been studying Buddhism for decades.

And not even six-year-old Sophia Liu was afraid to lend her voice to the call for support.

“I’m not rich but I’m gonna pay five dollars for it to be a little more hotter in this Buddhist centre,” she said proudly.

Six-year-old Sophia Liu speaks to Global News on her concerns about the Buddhist Centre of Regina. Dave Parsons / Global News

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The building’s heritage status could make it eligible for some assistance from the City of Regina.

The one-time Heritage Building Rehabilitation Program offers financial assistance in the form of a tax exemption for up to 50 per cent of repair work costs, or the total property taxes over ten years, whichever is lesser.

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