Contributed illustration Plans for a downtown addictions treatment centre were approved by a City of Red Deer appeal board on Wednesday.

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

Several conditions are attached to the approval

The Red Deer Dream Centre for addictions treatment can open in a former downtown nightclub after winning approval Wednesday.

The Red Deer subdivision and development appeal board overruled a previous denial of the project, which is proposed for 4614 50th Ave., but it attached a number of conditions.

These include making the Dream Centre operators responsible for the replacement and repair of any damage that might be done to public property by its clients.

Before construction begins, the operators must also provide plans to the city that incorporate crime prevention through environmental design concepts.

Outdoor storage at the site is also prohibited.

On Oct. 16, the municipal planning commission refused a development permit for the Dream 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 falls within the Land Use Bylaw for downtown, which allows for offices, institutional facilities and temporary care facilities.

The appeal board also determined that the live-in alcohol treatment centre offers another kind of residential component for the downtown.

“The board is persuaded by the argument that the revitalization of an existing building that is currently vacant, and changing its use, will create more daytime activity in an area of the downtown that currently consists of evening use by patrons of drinking establishments,” the written decision states.

Although opponents argued the city’s core had too many social service agencies, the appeal board found there wasn’t another development like this in the downtown.

The Dream Centre for addictions treatment would “supplement the adjacent uses rather than resulting in a concentration of similar uses,” it said.

The appeal board did not consider street or lot parking to be an issue and suggested the municipal planning commission, by citing parking concerns in its denial of the project, was holding the Dream Centre to a higher standard than other businesses.

The appeal board noted the Dream Centre’s application now requires fewer parking spaces, as the downstairs gathering/assembly hall was reduced to 200 people from a previous 600.

The board also approved of the addition of an on-site kitchen and larger recreational space in the revised application.

Noting that the former nightclub is located on arterial roads and away from residential neighbourhoods, the board determined that relocating the centre to another part of the city could create more negative impacts for residents.

“The board is persuaded that the proposed development supports the ongoing redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown area,” encouraging investment, attracting new businesses and enhancing a currently underutilized area, it said.

The appeal board’s decision can be appealed within 30 days to the Court of Appeal on a question of law.

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