Lethbridge approves transitional home for recovering addicts despite community concerns

WATCH ABOVE: A new rehabilitation home is opening in Lethbridge and the community has mixed feelings about the location. Lethbridge city council voted on Monday evening in favour of a new transitional home in Scenic Heights for women in the final stages of addiction recovery. Around 60 members from the community attended the public hearing to voice concerns about the home decreasing property values and causing security problems. Emily Olsen reports.

Lethbridge city council is giving the green light to a new transitional home in Scenic Heights.

In a 5-2 vote following a public hearing, the project was approved.

The home, proposed by Streets Alive, will support 20 women in the final stages of recovery from addiction through a program focused on abstinence and Christian values.

At least 60 community members attended A public hearing Monday night, to voice concerns about the potential for property values dropping and security problems as a result of the recovery home.

READ MORE: Calgary families share stories of struggling to get help for addictions

Councillors Blaine Hyggen and Ryan Parker both voted against the home.

Hyggen has previously opposed the Lethbridge’s supervised consumption site as a way to fight the opioid crisis in Lethbridge. He said his opposition in this case was based on improper zoning and not on the facility itself.

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“We know that everywhere we go is going to say, ‘I don’t want it in my backyard,'” Hyggen said.

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“Let’s just put it in an area that’s zoned correctly for that. I think it’s really important.”

Hyggen added that he would “absolutely” support new rehabilitation and recovery centres if they were proposed in the future.

Streets Alive co-founder Julie Kissick said the choice of location was intentional.

“We want to be an inclusive city,” she said.

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“So to be an inclusive city, we have to include people that are trying to recover their lives in the neighbourhoods. These people don’t recover well in institutions. They don’t recover well outside the city.”

READ MORE: Kenney announces funding for 4,000 addictions treatment spaces in Alberta

Next door to the house in question lives Dennis Moryski, who is concerned his property will drop in value and no longer be safe.

“We’ve invested our whole life in this place,” Moryski said.

“To devalue our retirement would be devastating. There is a place for this Streets Alive operation [but] it’s not in our area.”
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Kissick said they hear the concerns, but have the experience to show this won’t be the case.

“We’ve been running housing for 20 years, so we know that there’s no fear, no drugs, no alcohol,” Kissick said.

“We aren’t expecting to change anyone’s mind, but we know that these women are here to regain their lives. We keep them busy, focused and successful. There are more and more people trying to get out of the drug life and get back into recovery.”

Kissick said that once renovations on the 15-bedroom home are complete, the women will begin to move in.

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