Regina Pioneer Village resident says long-term solution needed now
Regina Pioneer Village is Saskatchewan’s largest seniors complex, but the provincially run facility has been on life support for years.
Now, one longtime resident is speaking out and hoping the province will find a permanent solution to the complex’s infrastructure problems.
“This used to be my home. Now, it’s just a death trap,” said Cathy Girard, a resident of the complex.
Girard moved to the facility in 2007, but over the years she says the standard of care has deteriorated.
“We have mould, we’re overrun with mice — and the shortage of staff, especially nurses, housekeepers and doctors,” Girard said.
“A lot of people are complaining that their eyes are watering, and they have breathing problems.”
The Pioneer Village facility was built in two phases – the first in 1967 and the second in 1972. Due to its age, the building has recently been plagued with ongoing infrastructure issues including weakening brickwork and ageing plumbing and electrical systems.
Back in April, the Saskatchewan Health Authority moved around 94 residents from the facility after a report showed an excessive amount of mould.
Since then, Girard says they’ve been left with more questions than answers.
“What’s going to happen? Are we going to get a new building, or a Band-Aid solution?” Girard said.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority says remediation is currently taking place.
“We have ongoing weekly monitoring and we have air quality monitoring so we feel comfortable with the steps that we’ve taken [and] that the environment remains safe for residents to remain in it and staff to work in it at this time,” said Debbie Sinnett, executive director of ongoing care at Pioneer Village.
In 2014, a provincial report indicated the facility needed around $60 million worth of repairs, but over the past four years, the province has invested just over $8 million.
“Every time it rains, there are tiles falling down on people’s heads, and in the summer there’s water leaks, cracks in the ceiling, cracks in the building,” Girard said.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it’s working closely with the Ministry of Health to come up with a long-term solution, but Girard says the clock is ticking.
“We can’t just be waiting and sitting on our thumbs; we’ve got to have help now,” she said.
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