Residents of Highland Wood Long-Term Care Home were all relocated by Feb. 7 due to leaks in the facility from melting snow and ice.

In a Feb. 6 press release, Halliburton Highlands Health Service (HHHS) said due to the leaks, several Highland Wood residents were being relocated to other parts of the building and neighbouring long-term care facilities. In a follow-up press release Feb. 7, HHHS said all Highland Wood residents were being relocated after a detailed inspection of the roof.

HHHS president and chief executive officer Carolyn Plummer said the leaks in the facility have been extensive.

“In multiple areas, including hallways and resident rooms,” Plummer said in an email. “Our maintenance team has been working around the clock to divert water off the roof and to monitor leaks inside the building as the ice melts and the rain falls. Despite this, there is a risk for more leaks to occur. For this reason, it is no longer safe to keep residents in the facility.”

The roof of the building was scheduled to be repaired in the spring, Plummer said. It is too soon to know the cost of the repair, she further said.

A total of 28 residents in the facility have been relocated to other facilities in the northeast part of the Central East Local Health Integration Network, Plummer said. For privacy reasons, she said she could not provide more details on specific locations.

The Feb. 7 press release said the residents were being “relocated into facilities that will provide the same comfortable home environment that they experienced at Highland Wood.”

Plummer said in an email it is too soon to know what the root cause of the leaks was, but it is likely due to the snow and ice build-up melting with recent milder temperatures and rain.

It is also too soon to know when Highland Wood residents will be able to return, she said.

“We will be doing everything we can to have Highland Wood operational again as quickly as possible, Plummer said in an email.

There has been no relocation at the facility like this before, Plummer said.

She added there has been an outpouring of support from the community in response to the situation.

“Staff from across all departments of the organization, as well as many of our volunteers and the HHHS Foundation staff have stepped in to help out, and we’ve had support from the municipality, EMS, fire department, the team at Extendicare, and many others in the community who have reached out during our time of need,” Plummer said. “This is an incredibly caring and generous community, and I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for everything that has been done to support us and our residents.”

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