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Calgary non-profit offers support to displaced downtown high-rise residents

File: A picture of some of the damage after water pipes burst at Westview heights on Dec. 27, 2021. Carolyn Kury de Castillo, Global News

As tenants in a downtown Calgary high-rise await official word on when they can return home, a non-profit organization based in northeast Calgary has stepped up to help support displaced residents through the difficult time.

On Dec. 27, hundreds of residents at Westview Heights apartment building had to evacuate after several water pipes burst, leading to flooding, heating and electrical issues.

Read more: Downtown Calgary apartment building evacuated during extreme cold snap

Some residents have been staying at various hotels including the nearby Sandman Hotel until they can return home.

After hearing about the ordeal, non-profit community organization The Northeast Enrichment Foundation offered their assistance.

“Family and friends donated money and food, non-perishables … we went out and bought food, and then we donated once last week” said the foundation’s, Shubumjeet Rakhra.

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Rakhra said for as long as residents are unable to return, the group will continue to offer as much support as they can. Donations can be made by getting in touch with the foundation by email or through its Instagram account.

No clear timeline for return

As of Saturday, it’s still unclear when residents will be able to return home.

A spokesperson with the building’s management company said repair work has been going on around the clock, but the situation could get worse in the coming days as the temperature warms up.

“As the building warms up, and continues to warm up, we do expect to have multiple pipes burst,” said Mayflower Ventures’ Ajay Nehru

Nehru said he was hopeful that elevator maintenance would be finished in time for residents to move back in on Jan. 10, but now it seems like that date is likely to be delayed.

“Obviously significant challenges because it’s a piece of equipment where there is no margin of error,” Nehru explained.

Some tenants aren’t willing to wait around.

Ayesha Ali spoke to Global News and said she was able to get into her apartment to remove some personal belongings and has no intention of going back to Westview.

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In an email sent to tenants, Westview management said access to the building will no longer be permitted until it is ready to be re-occupied, citing safety issues and incidents involving staff member and tenants.

Nehru said once the elevator work is complete, the City of Calgary and Calgary Fire Department will need to sign off on a building inspection, in order for the company to

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