Spirits high, fingers crossed as Chez-Nous looks to reopen early this summer
'She's really looking forward to resettling in her room'
Work is well underway at repairing a seniors' home in Wellington that was gutted by a fire earlier this year — and all signs point to residents returning in early summer.
The fire forced the evacuation of the building in mid-January, leaving dozens of residents wondering if they'd ever go back to the home they love.
But Marcel Richard, president of the board in charge of Chez-Nous, says he toured the building this week and he's elated to see how far along it's come.
"We just couldn't believe the amount of work that has been done from the first time we went in," he said. "Because the first time we went in you could have shot a cannon ball and it would have went right through without hitting anything."
Now, it's almost fully rebuilt. All the bedrooms are constructed, the kitchen and dining room areas are also done. What's left at this point is some crack filling and painting, among other things.
'She misses the big family'
"It's very exciting to see," Richard said. "We just have to stay very positive in all this … anytime we talk to the contractors we just say, you know, beginning of summer we're moving back."
Louise Arsenault's parents used to live at Chez-Nous, but now live at Andrews in Summerside. She said her parents are always asking about how work on Chez-Nous is going and they're anxious to get back.
"They're asking every day," she said. "They're treated perfect at Andrews … but they want to get home."
Arsenault said the staff that were at Chez-Nous are at Andrews, so it's always warm welcomes and familiar feelings.
But, ultimately, it's not their cosy home in Wellington.
Cecil Arsenault's mom used to live at Chez-Nous, and she said her mom has done well after being displaced because of the fire.
Her mom is also at Andrews and "is waiting for a date to return," she said. "She's really looking forward to resettling in her room and making life normal again.
"She misses the big family."
'A family-welcoming place'
Richard said when the day comes to welcome people back "it'll be quite a party."
"We certainly would love to have like a great big welcoming party for the residents and the families to be able to be a part of it," he said. "That may be asking a lot right now," he said, speaking about restrictions around COVID-19.
Regardless of whether or not there will be a welcome-back bonanza, spirits are high that they'll be open again in the near future.
"You used to walk into that place and it was such a family-welcoming place," he said.
"From our staff to the residents, to whoever was around … that makes it like a very homey atmosphere."
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