Union plans rally to keep Michener Centre open

Opponents of the province’s decision to shut down Michener Centre are set to gather for a rally in downtown Red Deer on Wednesday.

Opponents of the province’s decision to shut down Michener Centre are set to gather for a rally in downtown Red Deer on Wednesday.

The rally, organized by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, will take place at City Hall Park at 3:30 p.m. An AUPE petition to keep the centre open is available to be printed at www.keepmicheneropen.com, and one will be circulated at the rally.

Since the government announced in early March that the facility would close, with its 125 current residents to be moved into group homes and seniors care facilities, there has been much vocal opposition and the Society of Parents and Friends of Michener Centre has organized information meetings in hopes of reversing the decision.

Resident relocation is set to begin in September, with a target to have all residents moved out by January 2014.

AUPE president Guy Smith said the union’s 600-odd members employed at Michener are concerned for the residents’ quality of life and care should they be moved.

“We need to make it absolutely clear to the government and specifically to the local MLAs in Red Deer that closing Michener Centre is absolutely the wrong move to make,” said Smith.

“What we see this decision to close Michener as is a betrayal from the Redford government to the most vulnerable citizens of the province.”

Smith said approximately 2,000 letters have been sent to the premier through the website www.keepmicheneropen.com.

Television commercials featuring family members of Michener residents will begin airing on April 15.

The rally organizer said residents, along with family, staff and concerned citizens, are expected to attend.

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