Diabetes, counselling services settling in at new digs

Staff with Riverside Community Counselling Services spent their first full day of work in their new location at the old St. Mary’s parish rectory on Monday, joining the similarly relocated Valley Diabetes Education Centre there.
“It’s a little bit bigger than we where were,” director Jon Thompson said of the Victoria Avenue location.
“It’s a little too early to say, but overall we’re very impressed with the new surroundings, the potential atmosphere we have here,” he remarked.
“It’s a professional atmosphere that will make people comfortable.”
While Riverside Community Counselling Services initially was supposed to move from its old location just east of La Verendrye hospital last summer, Thompson noted hospital administration pushed the date back to ensure the transition was efficient and smooth.
“There were very, very few glitches. We basically got everything moved quite efficiently,” said Thompson. “The maintenance staff deserve the credit for the smooth transition.
“We stayed open throughout the move, including during Christmas, which is a very important time of the year for us,” he noted.
Riverside Community Counselling Services actually moved into the building late last month but only opened for its clientele there Monday.
The new offices include a waiting room/reception area, counselling areas, and administrative offices.
Meanwhile, the Valley Diabetes Education Centre moved into the old parish rectory in mid-December.
The centre’s offices, which also used to be located just east of the hospital, now include a waiting area, a resource room, and separate offices for registered dietitian Jodis McCain and Cindy Gauthier, a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator.
McCain said the renovations are “beautiful” and resulted in a “warm and inviting” work atmosphere.
“I have a bigger office,” enthused receptionist Shawn McCaig. “One with a window.”
Lori Bazinet, manager of ambulatory support services, also was thrilled with the move for both groups. “I think it gives us more visibility, and accessibility for the public,” she said yesterday.
“It’s nice and new and fresh,” she added.
The rectory was purchased by Riverside Health Care Facilities, Inc. early last year to be turned into additional space to house Riverside Community Counselling Services and the Valley Diabetes Education Centre.
The first stage of the Phase IV renovations at La Verendrye Hospital is the expansion of the parking lot to make room for employee, visitor, and contractor vehicles, as well as a structural expansion of the hospital to the south.
This means the buildings that housed both services east of the hospital will have to be removed.
Work on the rectory began in April. The renovations entailed adding fire doors, fire exits, a handicap-accessible washroom, and handicap access, as well as cosmetic changes like flooring and new paint on the ceiling and walls.
St. Mary’s parish will continue to occupy four offices and a reception area on the upper floor of the north side of the building.
An open house for the new location is expected to be held this spring.