Volunteers help Buddhist Centre of Regina prepare for new boiler

The old boiler at the centre burst into flames on Dec. 12, leaving them without heat since then.

The old boiler at the centre burst into flames on Dec. 12, leaving them without heat since then

Rev. Uttam Barua of the Buddhist Centre of Regina says there are no words for his gratitude toward people helping out the centre. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

The Buddhist Centre of Regina is getting some much needed help from volunteers. 

On Dec. 12, Rev. Uttam Barua found the boiler in flames. He shut it down and the building has been without central heating since. 

The centre set up small space heaters to keep the temple warm, but they still face the prospect of frozen pipes.

Barua said the centre put out a plea to the public and started a GoFundMe. They've been receiving donations and by mid-Friday were about a fifth of the way to their goal. 

After the news went out about the Buddhist centre, Barua got a call from union workers currently embroiled in the labour dispute at the Co-op Refinery

Barua said they told him that some of the workers used to go to the heritage building when it was the Albert Library and wanted to help.

"They know what to do," Barua said. 

Volunteers spend Friday morning disassembling the old boiler at the Buddhist Centre of Regina. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

The volunteers stopped by a couple times over the last few weeks to prepare to remove the old boiler for free, he said. On Friday, the volunteers sawed off pipes to remove it in chunks.

"I have no words to say," Barua said. "Those people are so wonderful for me and our Reginian community. I am very, very thankful." 

Karl Dahle, one of the volunteers, has his journeyman tickets in steam fitting and gas fitting. 

The boiler burst into flames on Dec. 12. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

"We're pretty worried because if it starts to freeze, your main [water pipes] start to freeze, it becomes a huge job and could be a demo of the whole building eventually," Dahle said. 

Dahle said the boiler is a small job for him and he hopes the centre can continue being a place for people to gather. 

"Everyone needs help once in a while, right? If you volunteer and help out as a community, everyone else starts to do it too and [it builds] your community into a better place," he said. 

The old boiler at the Buddhist Centre of Regina had a number of cracks that volunteers found while disassembling it. (Heidi Atter/CBC)

Barua said he's hopeful they'll raise the remaining $36,000 for the new boiler soon and get one before the weather hits the building too hard. 

On Jan. 11, the centre is hosting an appreciation day starting at 12 p.m. CST. Everyone who has donated or shown support in any way has been invited to stop by and see the centre during a new moon blessing and Christmas tea. 

Barua has received support from all over, which surprised him because it is his first time fundraising, he said. 

"People are very, very kind," he said. "I am very thankful for all of you for your good hearts." 

Volunteers removed the boiler in chunks to make space for a new one when the Buddhist Centre of Regina can afford it. (Heidi Atter/CBC)
The old pieces of the former boiler are seen on the floor while volunteers cut through the last bolts. (Heidi Atter/CBC)


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