CORNWALL, Ontario – Hundreds of Cornwall and Area Housing residents area being forced to shell out for new, expensive portable air conditioning units thanks to a policy change concerning the window machines.
Peggy Fulton, manager of the Cornwall and Area Housing Corporation, confirmed in an interview letters will soon be distributed to residents advising them that window units will no longer be allowed next year.
The reason is a window unit fell from an eighth floor apartment earlier this summer, crashing to the ground.
No one was injured, but the incident has prompted a decision to mandate the use of so-called “portable” A/C units in CAHC high-rises, while residents in townhouses must keep their machines on the first floor.
“I know it’s going to be hard for tenants, but we’re just not in a position to take on that kind of liability,” said Fulton, suggesting that if an air conditioner falls on a person, CAHC could be open to litigation.
Residents, though, are steaming – and it’s not just because their apartments are heating up.
Lisa Murad, a resident of the CAHC high-rise on Sixth Street, said she can’t afford a new portable air-conditioning unit. The machines typically start at around $350.
Instead of being in a window the machines roll around on wheels inside a room.
Murad said the corporation’s residents are being punished for one incident.
“Right now I’m looking at my thermometer and it says 81 degrees in here,” she said. “By the end of the day it will be up to 90. I can’t take that.”
She also says she can’t afford to replace her window unit with a portable machine. Murad is on a fixed disability pension that pays her about $1,100 a month.
“What are we supposed to do?” she railed. “I can’t do the heat.
“And I’ve heard those (portable units) are loud and they leak.”
Murad said she is planning to start a petition against the decision once the CAHC officially notifies residents.
Fulton was asked if the corporation could allow window units, but inspect them to make sure they are properly installed.
“We have 1,600 units,” she responded. “There’s no way we can go out to each and every one and do an inspection.
“I feel bad about it, but we have to protect all of our tenants.”
Fulton said the CAHC is letting residents know now, so they can pick up a unit on sale.