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Wednesday November 5th, 2014

Posted at 8:12pm

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Victoria Street Manor as seen on Google Streetview

Victoria Street Manor, an assisted living facility in Amherstburg, is set to be closed, tentatively by January 31, 2015 due to safety reasons. The decision was made Thursday evening by Essex County Council, which owns the building.

“This is a two storey wood building without a sprinkler system or adequate fire suppression partitions in common areas,” noted Warden Tom Bain. “Council was concerned for the safety of residents and staff should an evacuation be necessary if there was a fire or other emergency event.”

The current 11 residents of Victoria Street Manor will be offered accommodation appropriate to their needs, either in Amherstburg, in the region, or elsewhere in Ontario if they choose, Mr. Bain said.

There has been heightened awareness of the difficulty of evacuating elderly residents from multi-level care centres since the tragic nursing home fire in l’Isle-Verte, Quebec, in January, 2014. The county notes that while a sprinkler system could be added to Victoria Street Manor, other structural deficiencies, such as the lack of fire suppression partitions, cannot practically be overcome.

In addition, officials say that there would be a permanent increase in staff at an annual cost to the County in excess of $300,000.

Until Victoria Street Manor is closed, extra staff has been added around the clock to ensure residents can be safely evacuated during an emergency.

Built in 1991 under a short-lived provincial program, Victoria Street Manor is one of the few remaining such facilities in the province. Its annual operating costs, even before investing in special measures to improve residents’ safety, are higher than average for assisted living facilities.

Victoria Street Manor is operated by the County through the Sun Parlor Home.

The Community Care Access Centre will assess the needs of each resident first, and assist families in choosing new homes.

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