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Media Release - Teen Challenge Submits Third Application for Residential Addictions Treatment Centre in St.John's
Posted on January 8th 2016 by Atlantic Men's Centre
January 7, 2016 - St. John's, NL:
Teen Challenge Canada remains committed to establishing a residential addictions treatment centre for women on the outskirts of St.John's, despite two previous rejections from St.John's City Council in the past two years.
The international rehabilitation program, established 42 years ago, and which operates several programs for both men and women in Canada, recently submitted its third application to Council, to operate a 12-month treatment program on Fowler's Road on the site of the former Circle Square Ranch.
"Drug addiction has reached alarming levels in the province, impacting not just those who struggle with abuse, but their families, friends and the community at large, and we remain hopeful that our latest application will receive a green light from the City Council," said Dan Murray, CEO of Teen Challenge Canada. "Teen Challenge has a solid reputation as a residential program for those who struggle with addiction - and we want to be a part of the solution to the growing problem in Newfoundland and Labrador, which required immediate action to combat the addictions-related devastation we see played out daily in our cities and towns.
The program is built on the premise that addiction can be rooted in the mind, body and/or spirit, and recovery means supporting the whole person. It offers a faith-based approach and during the 12 months, residents are offered accredited counseling services, along with academic and vocational training that helps to equip them for re-entry into the community.
"Women are welcomed from every walk of life, and learn to function and contribute to society," says Lisa Power of St.John's, who completed the 12-month program in 2013, at the Teen Challenge Women's Centre in Aurora, Ontario. "Teen Challenge is a safe place where women will be restored in body, mind and spirit. It will give children back to their mothers, husbands back their wives, parents their daughters - and even grandchildren back their grandmothers. Finally, it starts the healing process in their lives that gives hope to women with life-controlling addictions, and help that will turn their lives around."
Teen Challenge is not seeking any municipal or provincial funding to establish the treatment centre, as the cost of the program is borne primarily through private sponsorship. The charitable organization has done considerable work in preparation for its applications to City Council, including
- The purchase of 132 acres of land on Fowler's Road in St.John's, of which 30 would be required for the treatment program;
- Renovation and upgrades to buildings on the proposed site; Consultation with permanent residents of Fowler's Road, who have indicated they have no objections to a treatment centre; and
- Substantial fundraising from donors across Newfoundland and Labrador who have been impacted by Teen Challenge, and who believe a residential treatment centre is needed in the province.
Teen Challenge's latest application proposes Atlantic Hope Women's Centre, a 24-bed residential treatment program for those who would benefit from treatment close to home and families, particularly if they have children. The land proposed for use would need to be rezoned to institutional, which Teen Challenge has requested.
More recently, the city indicated that a major impediment to a successful application was Fowler's Road itself. Officials have told Teen Challenge that it must assume responsibility for paving the road, at a cost well in excess of one million dollars, due to concerns around fire access.
Teen Challenge officials, along with members of a local steering committee, have held ongoing discussions with City staff and councilors since 2013, in order to understand and comply with municipal requirements. A number of city officials have recognized the growing need for addictions treatment and verbally indicated their support in principle for a treatment centre.
"We have made every effort to respect the ongoing requirements of Council, and have now indicated in our third application that we are committed to covering the cost of the road upgrade," said Ray Andrews, co-chair of the Teen Challenge NL steering committee. "However, we are concerned that the additional fundraising to pave a road that is already well maintained by the city, will mean another considerable delay in the opening of the treatment centre, and are somewhat perplexed by the requirement for a charitable organization to pave a city road to provide fire access, given this does not appear to be a safety concern for the people who already live there."
"Our priority is establishing a 'road to recovery' for those struggling with addiction, which continues to ravage and claim lives with each day that passes."
Tracy Whelan agrees. The St.John's native struggled with substance abuse as a child, and says by adulthood, had lost all hope she could be free from addiction. The mother of two left Newfoundland in 2010 to enter the Teen Challenge program in Aurora, a difficult decision, but one she credits with saving her life.
"Teen Challenge provided me with not only an opportunity to overcome addiction - but with the direction onto a new path that I so desperately needed," she adds. "My decision to enter the program has had a lasting effect on my life, and has provoked change in other members of my family as well. I would have loved to have been able to remain in my own province to get the help that i needed - but that opportunity was not available to me."
Teen Challenge Canada