The lack of air conditioning at Davey Lodge has once again faced criticism after a resident’s fish died due to extreme heat during O-Week.
The fish, owned by Alex Williams, died on the Thursday of O-Week. In a Facebook post in the dedicated UniLodge Facebook group, Williams announced that the fish’s “boily [sic] demise has saddened [him] beyond repair”.
Williams told Woroni that her fish was perfectly healthy before the incident.
“He was happy and healthy and then he started acting up for a day or so. Then he died. I was sad for a little, but realised there’s bigger fish to kill in this world”.
A funeral was held for the fish later in the evening, where the pet was buried in the college’s courtyard. But the fish did not rest in peace for long: the next day, the grave was dug up by an overnight security guard who suspected that the burial may have held drugs.
The death of the 4-month-old pet, who was named Walter William Williams, has raised questions about the lack of air conditioning provided to residents at Davey Lodge. Built in 2009, Davey Lodge is the oldest of the four UniLodge residences.
All other UniLodge residences have air conditioning, including the new SA5 building that currently houses Bruce Hall, which has in-built ceiling fans.
Davey Lodge residents often complain about how the extreme heat makes the building less liveable, forcing people out of their rooms and common areas, to study in other places on campus that offer more comfort.
But UniLodge General Manager Peter Warrington told Woroni that the heat was nothing to worry about.
“I actually lived in [Davey Lodge] myself, on the top floor, so I am aware that it does get warm. But by pulling down your shades during the day it does reduce a lot of the heat,” Warrington said. “We unfortunately can’t have air conditioning because of the design of the building, but I do know that using a fan can cool it down quite quickly.”
“Certain people have raised that their rooms are quite hot, and we’ve provided advice – we also sometimes have provided fans.”
Warrington said that he had not heard about any dead fish:
“That’s the first I’ve heard of a fish dying, that’s news to me. But I’ll look into it.”
In 2016, one resident even took legal action against UniLodge over the issue, going so far as to meet with ANUSA’s lawyers before dropping the case when they were moved into an air-conditioned room instead.
January and February are usually the hottest months of the year in Canberra, and data suggests that this year has been hotter than average.