After years of debate and controversy over the place within the Cowichan Valley it needs to be positioned, the controversial Well being and Wellness Centre opened its doorways on York Street on Nov. 1 with little or no fanfare.
There was lots of opposition to the ability by a lot of its neighbours within the York Street space, each residential and business, and so they have organized marches, protests, and put lots of strain on Island Well being and native politicians to position it elsewhere.
However Island Well being mentioned that the well being authority had investigated many different potential websites for the centre, which presents a broad vary of psychological well being and substance-use providers that concentrate on prevention, intervention, therapy and restoration, within the Cowichan Valley, and decided that the placement on York Street was the one one out there that can meet the centre’s wants.
It actually does verify lots of the packing containers required for such a centre to achieve success, together with being in a central location the place those that use its providers can simply get to.
There’s actually no level in have such a centre positioned away from the final inhabitants the place people who want it most can’t entry it.
After all I do perceive the issues that many have; together with open drug use on the streets within the neighbourhood, elevated crime and lowered property values.
I’ve visited the neighbourhood quite a few occasions over time and there are occasions when it felt and appeared extra like a struggle zone than the primarily residential space that it’s.
However the centre is in place and open now, and it seems people who oppose the centre’s location should regulate to it being there and work with members of the Lookout Housing and Well being Society, who will run the ability, to maintain the associated issues within the neighbourhood to a minimal.
It needs to be identified that the society has an extended historical past of efficiently working related amenities throughout B.C. for the reason that Nineteen Seventies, so the Well being and Wellness Centre is just not precisely its first kick on the can in retaining such operations from changing into a blight within the neighbourhoods through which they function.
Sheila Malcolmson, Minister of Psychological Well being and Addictions, visited the centre shortly after it opened and mentioned she has confidence that the society will do all it will possibly to alleviate any issues within the neighbourhood which might be raised because of the presence of the centre and its shoppers.
She mentioned society members will exit into the neighborhood and join with individuals who want the centre’s assist and do their greatest to get them the care they want.
Meaning many who have been within the neighbourhood earlier than the centre opened, creating issues for the residents and themselves can now obtain assist to get them off their addictions, off the streets and into higher lives if they need it.
I’d wager that after just a few months of the society working the centre, the neighbourhood will see a marked enchancment as increasingly those who had develop into issues get the assistance they want and transfer on.
Malcolmson additionally touted the neighborhood advisory committee, consisting of members of the general public, native governments, first responders, Cowichan Tribes, service suppliers and residential and business neighbours of the centre, that Island Well being has established to satisfy frequently to establish the issues locally associated to the centre and discover methods to mitigate them.
The centre has been a controversial situation for greater than a yr now, and I acknowledge and applaud the strenuous efforts of the neighborhood members who fought so laborious to have it positioned elsewhere.
But it surely’s in place and open now, so all of us should work collectively to attempt to make it as profitable as it may be.
Everybody will probably be a winner if the centre is given the time and the help it wants to attain its targets.