Wednesday, October 13, 2021
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Not much progress made on southern Alberta’s addiction recovery communities

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LETHBRIDGE, AB – Planning work continues, almost a year later, for both the Lethbridge Recovery Community and the Blood Tribe First Nation Recovery Community.

That, from the Press Secretary for the Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Justin Marshall.

Last summer, Premier Jason Kenney traveled to southern Alberta to announce $10-million for two facilities – $5 million for a 75-bed recovery community on the Blood Reserve and $5 million for a 50-bed centre in Lethbridge County.

The county facility was expected to be built on the site of the South Country Treatment Centre just east of Lethbridge.

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On July 25, a full year will have passed since that announcement. Reeve Lorne Hickey says “other than probably the name change on the sign out at the road, there has been very little done. I think they have a few new staff members but other than that … they haven’t come forward and applied for a building permit to build the new facility so we don’t know why that delay is occurring.”

He says County staff have have reached out to the ministry on a couple of occasions to inquire about a permit application timeline but nothing has transpired.

Hickey says it’s a project that’s absolutely needed in southern Alberta, adding “every day that goes by we have more people who are having trouble getting off of opioids or who are getting more into the system of it and we need to have a facility that can help people overcome their addiction to it.”

Communications Specialist at the Blood Tribe Department of Health, Brent Scout, says there’s nothing to report on their end either but officials are ready once they get the go-ahead from the province.

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Marshall tells MyLethbridgeNow.com, the government remains committed to building a recovery-oriented addiction and mental health system and that more information will be shared when details are finalized.

Red Deer was the first of five new treatment centres to be announced last summer and only last week had a site been nailed down.

It was initially projected to be operational by spring 2020.

Construction on the Red Deer project is now expected to start this fall.

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Tina Karst

A Lethbridge College alumnus, Tina moved back to the community two years after convocation, in September 2007, to become a member of the CJOC News Team. She started as a weekend reporter/anchor and now serves as Associate News Director. When Tina’s not tracking down local news, she’s either busy at home with Jordan and their two kids or creating custom macrame pieces for a growing list of clients.

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