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This article was published 12/9/2018 (628 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Rebuilding Massey Manor will cost approximately $7 million, according to a staff member working on the renovations, with residents unlikely to move back into the building for at least another year or longer.
"It’s a massive amount of work that needs to happen," said Glen Kruck, regional manager of the formerly named Canadian Mental Health Association.
The bulk of the damage was caused not by the fire, which was largely contained to the building’s rooftop, but by the amount of water poured over top, along with the residual mould that was left behind.
Kruck said the insurance policy between the building’s three co-owners — the CMHA, Brandon Friendship Centre and Manitoba Housing — will provide up to $11.5 million to repair the building.
The first step will be to fix the roof in order to stop more water from getting inside, he said. Once that is finished, crews can begin renovating the building’s interior.
But even once they have acquired a building permit from the City of Brandon, Kruck said the repairs themselves are expected to take 11 months to complete. The hope is to have a contractor in place within the next week or two.
The news comes four months after a fire nearly destroyed Massey Manor and razed three other buildings during the May long weekend, including Christie’s Office Plus, a business plaza next door and a former night club and beer vendor.
Nearly 200 residents lived in Massey Manor, most of whom on low incomes, and were later housed at the Victoria Inn and Clarion Hotel until alternative housing could be found.
Many residents were able to salvage a few belongings from Massey Manor, and the Building Re-Fit Store was able to provide donated furniture to those who needed it, but the sense of loss was felt by many.
While all of the tenants connected to the Brandon Friendship Centre were insured, along with two or three others, Kruck said the vast majority did not.
"We were able to save very few items out of that building, so people lost a lot," Kruck said. "A huge amount, and especially personal possessions, which were just absolutely irreplaceable."
As the on-site building manager, Kruck also lived in Massey Manor and lost one item of particular significance: his late wife’s wedding ring.
"But that’s just one experience," he said.
Monique Ward stayed at Victoria Inn with her daughter and their cat Squid before finding a place in the city.
Looking back, she said the whole ordeal was an unusual one for her and her family.
"I’m sure every single person has a different story," she said. "In a way, it’s a good thing, not how it happened, but it was like a cleanse for some of us that needed to get out of there."
As evacuees, Ward and others banded together in the immediate aftermath of the fire, as they tried to get through their common ordeal.
"Not all of us got along, but it was a different thing when the fire happened," Ward said. "We all came together ... and then we moved and all of a sudden that’s gone again."
But even after four months living in her current place, she said it still doesn’t feel like home.
"I can’t tell you what’s next. It’s day by day, as life is," she said. "I’ve gotten over that sense of loss."
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