Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/11/2017 (220 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Residents in the Crestview neighbourhood have been invited to a public meeting to express their views on the establishment of an addictions recovery centre on the old Vimy Arena property.
Coun. Shawn Dobson said he organized the meeting because residents are concerned about the proposed facility and how the mayor’s office and senior administration have apparently made a backroom deal that would transfer the arena land to the family foundation promoting the facility.
"The overwhelming majority of residents that I’ve heard from are concerned and opposed to an addictions centre in the neighbourhood," said Dobson (St. Charles). "The meeting will be held to inform them what I’ve learned and to hear back from them."
The public meeting is set for 2-4 p.m. Saturday, at the Heritage Victoria community centre, 950 Sturgeon Rd.
City hall has offered the Vimy Arena property as the potential new home for a $14-million, 50-bed, long-term addictions recovery facility, which is a project of the Bruce Oake Memorial Fund.
Hockey sportscaster Scott Oake said the city offered the Vimy Arena property and they like it because of its park-like setting and potential for expansion.
The Oake family set up the Bruce Oake Memorial Fund as a way to finance the establishment of a long-term treatment facility. Oake said the family is committed to building the treatment centre and has partnered with a Calgary operation, Fresh Start, to run the facility.
The arena has been closed since 2014. It’s also been eyed by another non-profit, community group, Employment Opportunities West, which wants it to centralize its employment and recreational programming for mentally challenged individuals. However, a spokeswoman for the group said city officials have refused to talk to them about the arena.
Dobson said there is a need for an addictions recovery centre but doesn’t believe a residential neighbourhood like the Vimy Arena site is an appropriate location. Dobson said he’s also troubled at how the city administration worked behind the scenes without informing the community about the proposal.
Oake said he would be organizing a public information session after ownership of the arena site is formally transferred to the foundation and a rezoning application had been filed.
Aldo Santin is a veteran newspaper reporter who first carried a pen and notepad in 1978 and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 1986, where he has covered a variety of beats and specialty areas including education, aboriginal issues, urban and downtown development. Santin has been covering city hall since 2013.