As we have just read a second article in the Goat in regards to the care of residents of the Golden Years Lodge (GYL), and maintenance of such place, we are angered.

We are truly sorry that the accident happened to Flo Ball August 21, and we are indeed glad she did not suffer a more serious injury. The steps of concern have been rebuilt, with new material, to present day code. There are other steps that have been repaired and still others that have been reinforced.

Much more work is to be done, and we are hoping to get new porches/deck within the year. It takes time and money and a great deal of patience.

Please be patient with us. Each of the residents do not need to use their veranda if they feel it is unsafe. Each suite has an inside door to the hallway and four fire exits on the main floor, which they can use until we get things fixed.

It takes time to get quotes from trades people, as they are busy. A good sign for the Valley, but it slows down what we can do and when we can do it. We also have to apply for funding to see these jobs get done, and completed well.

Our caretaker four years ago was given the job of securing steps and handrails. It has not been a permanent fix.

Did we go over our protocol after the accident? Yes, we did.  Did we change anything? No. It was a good reminder for us all to look at what happened and what we could have done differently. Our administrator, had sent the caretakers to look at the stairs around the whole GYL before the incident and they had marked the stairs (“Do not use these stairs”) on the outside and the inside. Both we and the caretakers noted that paper, a large marker and colourful tape be available to the caretakers, if we ever again need to mark such an area. We appreciated the local residents who put up new tape and enlarged the printing after the incident.

It is easy to blame. Asking for forgiveness is harder. We are glad there are so many fine residents in the GYL and in the Valemount House (Units on Cedar and 3rd Ave) who take responsibility for themselves and others in the suites or units. Our volunteer Board members are faithful and responsible, but are not always at the facilities in question.  We depend on the residents to tell the administrator, and the Board what needs attending to, plus we try to plan longer term such as the retrofitting that has been done over the last three years at the GYL.  However, each of the residents will be getting a visit from representatives of the Board, to hear their challenges and concerns. Some may have already had a visit. There are other opportunities during the year for our administrator and Board rep to meet with residents. We would rather hear from them in person, than read their comments in the paper.

We, the Board, do care about the residents.

Dee McEachern, Chair, on behalf of the Board of the Valemount Senior Citizens Housing Society

Valemount, BC