The re-envisioned nightclub-turned-treatment-centre. (Facebook image).

Open house on proposed addictions treatment centre to be held at former Red Deer nightclub

Community is invited to learn more about the $2-million project on May 2

Red Deer residents can soon find out more about a proposal to create a $2-million addictions treatment centre out of a former downtown night club.

An open house is planned for Thursday, May 2, at 4618 50th Ave., the former Lotus Night Club.

Questions from the community will be answered, such as is the downtown the best location for this. (The group of investors behind the proposal believes it’s a key step in downtown revitalization.) And will this increase the number of drug-addicted people in the area? (Investors believe it won’t, as there will be no in-out privileges at the addiction treatment centre).

A group of Christian investors has formed the Red Deer Dream Centre steering committee and is proposing to start a recovery facility based on the Calgary Dream Centre.

“I’d like to personally invite … the community of Red Deer to our open house information night,” said Wes Giesbrecht, a local commercial realtor and spokesman for the group.

“Our partners from the Calgary Dream Centre will be here to present stats, their program, what they’re currently doing and have done over the past 15 years.”

The open house is slated to run from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The guest speakers are Jim Moore, CEO of the Calgary centre; Chris Sciberras, its program director and mental health clinician; and Gary Carmichael, director of communities.

Many area residents, including city councillors, are interested in learning more about what’s being planned. Mayor Tara Veer recently said no development permit has yet been applied for.

But Giesbrecht said project investors want to wait until after the open house to see what public concerns arise and to address these at the initial stage.

“We are trying to be very overt and open about what we are proposing,” he added, noting that meetings have already been held with local social services agencies and the downtown business association.

The investors bought the former Lotus Nightclub and plan to establish a 20- to 40-bed addictions treatment centre.

While there are detox facilities in Red Deer that assist drug users with getting clean, there is no longer-term residential treatment centre. The proposed facility would provide care for 49 days.

Giesbrecht says research shows there’s an 86 per cent success rate of former addicts staying clean once they manage to stay off drugs for six months.

He noted anyone can drop in to the open house, but organizers prefer if those interested in attending preregister through a facebook link (Lotus:Reborn) on the website www.reddeerdreamcentre.ca.

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lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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