By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Following a report in The Oshawa Express exposing an elevator that had been down for 15 weeks in an Oshawa apartment building – almost double the scheduled time – the Technical Safety Standards Association has responded, saying they aren’t to blame for the delays.
The elevator in question, at 330 Gibb St., services a four-storey apartment building in which many seniors live and rely on the lift to get outside. The elevator went down for repairs at the beginning of March, and was originally scheduled to be out of service for six to eight weeks. However, the elevator wasn’t operational until June 15, almost 15 weeks later.
“People here, we’re in a desperate situation, we’re suffering,” one resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Express at the time.
When contacted, building manager Paul Nelson explained the elevator had been ready for service prior to the June 15 date, however, due to delays with the TSSA inspection, it didn’t get the final stamp of approval until that time.
Nelson claimed the delays were due in part to the Pan Am Games in Oshawa, and the TSSA being overwhelved with the workload.
The TSSA denies this claim.
“The Elevating Devices Safety program has not been impacted by preparations for the games and the program has sufficient inspectors and engineers to fulfill all of its safety responsibilities,” said Wilson Lee, director of stakeholder relations with the TSSA in an emailed response.
“Because elevators are inspected on a set schedule, the Pan Am Games did not require TSSA to deploy additional inspectors or redeploy existing ones,” Lee says, adding the only change was to ensure no inspections occurred at the Games facilities during competition.
The TSSA’s Elevating Devices Safety program has 68 inspectors and eight supervisors across the province. In the region 330 Gibb falls into, there are 14 inspectors and one supervisor.
Lee says Schindler, the elevator’s manufaturer, requested an original inspection of the elevator on June 11 for the next day.
The TSSA has a policy requiring inspections to be scheduled five days in advance. Despite this, Lee said the TSSA offered to send someone out to do the inspection the next day, but Schindler would be required to pay for overtime work.
Lee says Schindler declined to do so, and pushed the inspection to June 15.
When contacted about the conflicting dates provided to The Express, Schindler declined to comment, referring to their original statement and the building manager.
However, Nelson says he had no hand in the scheduling of inspections, which was completed by Schindler.
According to residents in the building, the elevator has been fully functioning since the TSSA inspection on June 15.