Watch above: Tuesday was a very special day for five graduates at the Portage rehab centre in Beaconsfield. The students have overcome a lot to make it on that stage, but now the place they call home is about to shut its doors. Elysia Bryan Baynes reports.
MONTREAL – Portage rehabilitation centre in Beaconsfield has run out of time. The facility has been at its Elm Avenue home for 14 years, but its lease has run out.
Portage serves teens in need on the West Island and has for over 40 years.
It’s the only English language residential rehab centre in Quebec.
In 2014, Batshaw notified Portage that is was repossessing the property for its own uses, and that Portage would need to relocate before December 2014.
The school’s management has had a hard time finding a new place on the West Island.
“We’ve been searching for the last five years, but it’s hard to find a place on the West Island with green space or an old school. We’ve tried everything,” explains Portage’s director of communications, Seychelle Harding.
Five students had their graduation ceremony at Portage on Tuesday. Many were concerned that they might be the last ones to graduate from Portage on the West Island.
“This place has changed my life,” says 2014 graduate Liam Sowden. “I don’t know where I’d be without this place, but it wouldn’t be anywhere good.”
Bathshaw family services is expected to offer Portage a temporary space up north; but students and staff would prefer to stay on the West Island.
“This place saved my life. I’m sad we’re leaving. We went once to a place up north but it was hard. We speak English and this place is already here on the West Island,” explains 2013 graduate Nicholas Wilson.
Directors at Portage have been communicating with the provincial government, but have yet to have a concrete response to their request for help.