A proposal to create an addictions treatment centre at the former Lotus nightclub is being appealed, after being denied last month by Red Deer’s municipal planning commission. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

An appeal was filed for Red Deer’s Dream Centre proposal

Appeal hearing expected to be held in last week of November

Proponents of a proposed alcohol and drug treatment centre in downtown Red Deer are appealing last month’s denial.

The municipal planning commission rejected the project in a tight 3-3 vote on Oct. 16. A split decision due to the absence of one member meant the proposal did not pass.

An appeal was filed by Dream Centre proponents this week, but a hearing date has not yet been set, said the city’s inspections and licensing manager, Erin Stuart.

She believes the city’s subdivision and development appeal board is looking at dates in the last week of November.

Wes Giesbrecht, co-chair of the proposed Red Deer Dream Centre, could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday. He has previously urged the centre be approved to make a positive difference to downtown Red Deer.

He told the planning commission he’d like to “shine a light” into the darkness of Red Deer’s troubled downtown and throw a lifeline to addicts who are causing social issues and crime.

The Dream Centre proposal would require adding a third storey to the former Lotus nightclub to create 16 addictions treatment units with the capacity to treat 48 individuals at a time for seven-week periods.

Each unit would have sleeping accommodations and a bathroom. Two common lounges and kitchen areas would be provided for individuals at the facility. An outdoor patio area is also proposed.

The second floor would be transformed into meeting rooms and offices to support the Dream Centre operations, while the main floor would become a 600-person conference and meeting space.

Although city administration recommended the planning commission approve the proposal, because it fits with zoning requirements, some members felt the Dream Centre would be incompatible with existing area developments and the intent of the Municipal Development Plan.

All members agreed such a project is needed in Red Deer, but several cited concerns about the downtown location. Some members expressed misgivings about allowing a drug and alcohol treatment centre to open near retail businesses, in an area planned for mixed-use retail and residential development.

Lack of sufficient off-street parking to accommodate the large assembly hall was among the concerns cited, as were the lack of on-site food services and recreation space.

The date of the appeal hearing will be advertised and posted on the city’s website. Property owners within 100 metres of the proposed site, at 4614 50th Ave., will get a written notification of the appear hearing date and time.


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