The proposed Red Deer Dream Centre will be located in the former Lotus Club, at 4614 50 Ave. (Photo contributed)

Red Deer Dream Centre opponents won’t appeal its approval

Red Deer’s subdivision and development appeal board approves project

Opponents of the Red Deer Dream Centre — a live-in addiction treatment facility approved Wednesday for the downtown — are unlikely to appeal its location.

The Red Deer subdivision and development appeal board overruled the municipal planning commission’s rejection of the controversial project proposed for the former Lotus nightclub building, at 4614 50th Ave.

“We would absolutely love to appeal. We’ve talked about it. But after getting some legal advice, our chances are slim,” said downtown business owner Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer.

The municipal planning commission refused a development permit for the centre on the grounds that it was not compatible with existing developments or the municipal development plan for downtown.

But the appeal board felt the use fell within the Land Use Bylaw for downtown, which allows for offices, institutional facilities and temporary care facilities.

Watkinson-Zimmer said the facility will be detrimental for both business and people who live downtown, however, the appeal board said putting the centre in another part of the city could create more negative impacts for residents.

“There’s residential downtown. There’s apartments. There’s houses,” Watkinson-Zimmer said, adding that a nearby condominium building has about 200 residents.

As a former city councillor who helped develop the Greater Downtown Action Plan, she said the appeal board was also incorrect to say that such addiction services were part of the downtown revitalization plan.

Watkinson-Zimmer said the appeal board’s hearing held in November was blatantly one-sided. Thirty-four supporters spoke for three minutes each, she said, while the lawyer representing hundreds of businesses and residents was given only 10 minutes.

“I love the downtown. I would never, ever have been anywhere except down here. We’ve got a community down here and it’s wonderful. I just don’t want it eroding.

“We feel for homeless. We feel for drug addicts. We believe there has to be (a treatment centre). But it’s the location. It doesn’t belong here. What needs to be changed is the Land Use Bylaw,” Watkinson-Zimmer said.

Dream Centre supporters were pleased with the appeal board’s decision.

Kath Hoffman, executive director of the Safe Harbour Society, which runs a downtown drug and alcohol detox program, said she was thrilled with the decision and very happy to see Red Deer get residential treatment.

“The Dream Centre is one of the many treatment options we need to help address the addiction crisis we are in,” Hoffman said.

She said there was nowhere in Red Deer where the centre would be welcome.

“Every corner of the city would make noise,” Hoffman said.

Related:

Red Deer’s Dream Centre for addictions treatment is approved on appeal

Red Deer Dream Centre hosts open house

Janet Balmer, a resident at a large Taylor Drive condominium complex, said the downtown location makes sense.

“Red Deer desperately needs it. I think everything is down there. It’s a good place for a treatment centre,” Balmer said.

“I don’t believe in the ‘not in my backyard’ syndrome. It has to be in somebody’s backyard.”

She said many residents in her condo building were against the project, but some were in favour.

“A lot of people misunderstand. There will not be 50 people wandering around with needles in their arms or bottles in bags.”

She said right now, people can’t access treatment in Red Deer once they go through detox. Some people don’t want to leave Red Deer, or can’t afford treatment elsewhere.

Balmer said if the building doesn’t become a treatment centre, it may become a nightclub again, which she would not want to see.



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer city

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for all Canadian workers

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Sylvan Lake waiting for better days

COVID-19 has put the tourism season on hold for Sylvan Lake, but… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP charge impaired driver after he rams into police car

The suspect vehicle purposefully crashed into a parked police vehicle, pushing it into the ditch.

‘It’s awful’: Calgary homeless sleeping outdoors over fears of catching COVID-19

CALGARY — Gordon Kelter has something to fear more than not having… Continue reading

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

David Marsden: Jason Kenney is all hat, no cattle

There are few character failings more unappealing than those of people who… Continue reading

Global warming critics find themselves under attack

Re: “Tropical storms offer glimpse of our evolving environment,” Gwynne Dyer, Opinion,… Continue reading

Scheer has quickly made a hash of Harper’s legacy

By the time Andrew Scheer hands over the Conservative party to a… Continue reading

Bayern, Dortmund warm up for quietest ever Bundesliga duel

BERLIN — Canada’s Alphonso Davies rose to the occasion on Saturday as… Continue reading

Ace Canadian esports driver Brooks tearing up the track online during COVID-19

TORONTO — Andrew Brooks could write a travelogue that would make a… Continue reading

Canadian Screen Awards to reveal winners tonight through Thursday

TORONTO — The Canadian Screen Awards will reveal this year’s winners in… Continue reading

Most Read