Jim Prentice undecided on Michener Centre future

Michener Centre supporters will have to wait to find out if Tory leadership candidate Jim Prentice would keep the Red Deer facility open.

Michener Centre supporters will have to wait to find out if Tory leadership candidate Jim Prentice would keep the Red Deer facility open.

Last spring the province announced that older buildings on Michener’s north and south sides would close forcing the relocation of 120 of Michener’s most severely developmentally disabled residents. The decision came as a shock to families who had long been promised that residents could live out their lives at Michener.

A judicial review of the decision to close Michener Centre happens in November, meanwhile the province continues its work to move residents out.

Prentice is the only candidate who has yet to weigh in on what should happen to Michener.

Last week, candidate Ric McIver said he would cancel the province’s closure plans and allow those who have moved out to return in keeping with the government’s promise.

In June, candidate Thomas Lukaszuk said he would definitely keep Michener open pending a review. Expansion could even be considered to help people with disabilities, mental health issues and others. If closure was required, people would be allowed to stay by way of attrition, up to a reasonable point.

On Wednesday afternoon, after speaking to about 150 people at the Black Knight Inn, Prentice said he still wants to talk to more family members of Michener residents.

“I will be making a visit to Michener Centre at a point in the near future and once I’ve done all of that, and spoken with the families, I’ll determine what I will do if I’m the premier,” Prentice said.

The former federal minister added his visit to Michener would be kept private.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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