Contributed photo Red Deer business owners have plans to turn the former Lotus Club into a residential drug treatment centre.

Some people question treatment centre location in downtown Red Deer, majority of comments positive

“But when you look at the heart of recovery, where is it needed the most?”

Great idea, not so great a location, is what some people are saying about a proposed treatment centre in Red Deer.

Those are some of the comments Wes Giesbrecht, a Red Deer realtor, has received about a project that would convert a former Red Deer nightclub into an addictions treatment centre.

The location for the proposed project is the former Lotus Nightclub downtown.

Giesbrecht is representing a group of “faith based” investors who bought the building in an effort to ease Red Deer’s opioid crisis. An open house is slated for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the former nightclub.

He said the City of Red Deer can expect a development permit application in the next couple of weeks.

Since the initial announcement, earlier in April, the realtor has received numerous comments “weekly, if not daily.” A majority of them are positive comments, he said in an interview Wednesday.

“We’re hearing a lot of support and encouragement in that regard.”

But some people question the location of the treatment centre.

Giesbrecht said some people believe the location needs to be out of the way or in an industrial area, not downtown.

“But when you look at the heart of recovery, where is it needed the most?

“The problem (of putting it somewhere else) is it doesn’t clean the downtown area, because they can’t get there.”

Giesbrecht would like to reassure downtown businesses, because “it’s not going to get any worse than it is.”

“What I can safely say is when you have 20 to 40 individuals in recovery, that’s 20 to 40 individuals less that are on your doorsteps, that are in your vestibules, that are breaking windows,” he said.

Calgary Dream Centre representatives will be at the open house and share their experience of running a treatment centre and what it’s done for the neighbourhood.

Some people ask why “faith-based?” The realtor said he’s no doctor, but he understands there’s a physical, mental and spiritual side to dealing with addiction.

“Faith-based (agencies) have the best success rates when it comes to recovery.”

There are about 200 people who have shown interest in Thursday’s open house.

Plans for the former nightclub include adding one or two floors to the building and installing beds and program space needed for a 49-day residential treatment program.

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