Red Deerians still don’t know where the new 75-bed addiction treatment facility will be located, but Mayor Tara Veer has revealed where it won’t be.
“I know the pressing question is where will it be. I can confirm publicly that it is outside the urban core. As soon as I say that, everyone thinks it’s Michener, but it’s not Michener. I can also confirm that,” Veer said during a Zoom meeting on Thursday where she provided an update on local provincial projects to Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re hoping the province announces that imminently. We know that is very important to our community.”
The announcement may come this week or next, she added.
In July 2020, the province announced $5 million for the addiction recovery community that will provide a full continuum of care for people struggling with addiction. At that time, it was said that it would be built in the city’s north end.
Veer said hopefully the facility will open its doors in 2022, and will also help from Red Deer’s crime rate. Red Deer’s drug treatment court is expected to be up and running in 2022, and can’t function until the treatment facility is operational.
She said the city is actively working with the province to determine the best location for the $7-million, 24/7 emergency homeless shelter.
“It’s a very challenging discussion for our council, and for the province, because the location is critically important. We have not made a final determination, but council is working on that. We hope to have that resolved in very short order.
The service model must also be decided, she said.
“We have many service providers and we want to make sure we’re avoiding duplication of service, but also that service providers are integrated and working well together, and to close off any service gaps to vulnerable populations.”
She said Alberta Health Services is currently developing the business plan for expansion at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.
“This project did experience some delays as a result of the onset of the pandemic, and obviously the re-calibrations of health resources. But we’ve been told it’s back on track. We’ve asked the minister of infrastructure to update our community as often as possible.”
She said the city will be pushing for a cardiac catheterization lab and community consultation on the plan to make sure it meets the needs of Red Deerians and central Albertans.
Veer said it’s taken a long time to secure these projects for Red Deer, but they are on the cusp of development.
“Red Deer historically, we haven’t really waived our flag and secured the infrastructure dollars we needed. What we are seeing is the consequences of social infrastructure deficits that are 10, 15, 20 years old.”