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Manitoba commits $3.5M to Bruce Oake Recovery Centre in Winnipeg

The Bruce Oake Recovery Centre breaks ground at the former Vimy Arena site in Winnipeg last Summer. On Monday the province announced $3.5 million in funding for the project. Joe Scarpelli/Global News

The Province of Manitoba has announced $3.5 million in funding for the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre.

Manitoba’s Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced the provincial funding for the yet-to-be-built Winnipeg addictions treatment centre Monday.

“Bruce’s legacy, and his family’s legacy, is to make sure that people who find themselves facing this struggle, can find help, and hope, from addiction,” Friesen said at a press conference.

READ MORE: Bruce Oake Recovery Centre breaks ground

Ground was broken on the project, to be built at the old Vimy Arena site, last August.

Bruce Oake is the son of Scott and Anne Oake who died from a drug overdose in 2011.

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The family decided to make an effort to help others struggling with addiction and approached the city last year about purchasing the old arena for $1 to build an addictions treatment centre.

Click to play video: 'Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock' Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock
Bruce Oake Recovery Centre passes final roadblock – Feb 21, 2019

The centre will become a long-term, residential treatment facility with the capacity to help 50 clients suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, the family has previously said.

Friesen said the provincial money will be used to support capital construction costs for the centre, which the province says will add 50 beds to Manitoba’s addiction system.

READ MORE: Screaming matches, passionate pleas dominate Bruce Oake centre information meeting

He said the centre will operate on a pay-as-you-can basis.

“No one is unable to receive care because of a financial obstacle that could be in their way,” Friesen said.

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“That is a game changer and it will create access to treatment that in some cases has been inaccessible.”

Scott and Anne Oake joined Friesen for Monday’s announcement.

“Obviously we still grieve, but today we have joy in our hearts because we can report to you that as we speak the Bruce Oake Recovery Centre is becoming a reality,” said Scott, who said construction has been underway since January.

“It’s on schedule, foundation is poured, walls set to go up, and this generous grant from the province today ensures that construction will continue uninterrupted and that we will be open for business in a little over a year.

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“That would be the business of saving lives.”

The proposed Bruce Oake Recovery Centre. Global News

Scott said a capital campaign started in August to help pay for the build has brought in $10 million.

“The response of the community has been heartwarming and it’s been stunning,” he said, adding a second phase of fundraising will kick off in the coming months.

“Today our supporters, our donors … should be happy to know that the province is now all in on a facility where anyone seeking recovery can stay in the program for as long as it takes to get it right.

“And a facility where no one is turned away because they can’t afford to pay.”

READ MORE: Bruce Oake Recovery Centre one step closer after marathon public rezoning hearing at city hall

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There has been both opposition and support for the project among local residents, and the city went through several consultations with the public during the approval process.

The sale of the land was approved in 2018, and in early 2019, city council shot down an appeal on the decision.

The treatment centre is scheduled to open in the spring of 2021.

Click to play video: '‘A Winnipegger is a Winnipegger, is a Winnipegger’: Rollins speaks in favour of recovery centre' ‘A Winnipegger is a Winnipegger, is a Winnipegger’: Rollins speaks in favour of recovery centre
‘A Winnipegger is a Winnipegger, is a Winnipegger’: Rollins speaks in favour of recovery centre – Feb 21, 2019

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