EMBRUN – Residents at Embrun’s Villa Fleur Ange were recently uprooted and moved for immediate safety concerns.

“I was as surprised as many of you to hear of the unfortunate situation at the Villa Fleur Ange in Embrun this past week,” township of Russell Mayor Pierre Leroux said in a June 16 statement. “When township received a complaint from the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA), municipal staff conducted an immediate investigation, practically and professionally. Once the building and fire departments deemed the situation an ‘immediate threat to life,’ they immediately coordinated with local stakeholders to facilitate the relocation of those impacted residents while taking steps to help ensure their safety during the transition period.”

The Villa Fleur Ange, a residential care facility on St-Jacques Road in Embrun, is closing due to urgent concerns relating to the Ontario Fire Code and Ontario Building Code, which could impact the safety and well-being of the facility’s residents, the township said in a June 15 statement. It was noted that the United Counties of Prescott Russell (UCPR) Social Services team and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) are coordinating the relocation of residents to other facilities.

“I share and understand the frustrations caused by this revelation. I am grateful that, in this instance, the impact was merely an inconvenience for some and not a loss-of-life tragedy experienced by so many other municipalities,” Leroux said, thanking staff for their dedication to the safety of Russell’s residents, and thanking partner organizations, such as UCPR and EOHU, for their quick action.

Leroux’s statement came a day after the release of the township’s statement on June 15. The mayor’s remarks offered additional background information, as well as thoughts on what might be done to keep this from happening in other unlicensed facilities.

“Cases such as this, raise many questions and concerns and the township will cooperate with the various agencies responsible for investigating this situation within their respective legislative mandates,” Leroux said. “I will also be seeking council’s support in writing a letter to the province in order to ensure that this situation does not occur again. I wish to request an explanation and/or investigation into how this facility could operate under these conditions without proper approvals and how we can help implement, facilitate, or streamline processes so that this situation never repeats itself in our community.”