Island Health’s controversial Duncan-area Wellness and Recovery Centre is now scheduled to open sometime in the fall, instead of the mid-June opening originally planned.
The health authority will be scheduling community consultation sessions this month and is planning to establish a community advisory committee with the mandate to try to build and maintain positive relationships among the community, the centre’s operators and program partners.
Island Health announced last April that the centre will be set up on York Road to provide a range of services to support people living with addiction and mental health concerns. It will bring together primary care, harm reduction, case management, overdose prevention, and on-site treatment in one location.
Island Health doesn’t require the permission of local governments or communities to open such facilities, but many residents and businesses in the neighbourhood have been advocating for Island Health to open the centre elsewhere and have been pressing local governments to intervene.
Public health officer Dr. Shannon Waters and Shayne Williams from the Lookout Housing and Health Society told North Cowichan council the committee will also be tasked to facilitate information sharing and dialogue, and identify and resolve any issues, opportunities and concerns related to the centre.
It will have approximately 10 members representing a cross-section of community groups and organizations, including local governments, school board, business sector, neighbours of the centre, citizens’ coalitions and clients and will begin meeting just before the centre opens.
The delegation said required renovations at 5878 York Rd. began in March, and that a series of virtual community dialogues and information sessions with key stakeholders will be held in May.
Two of the three hour-long sessions will be held on May 19, with the first beginning at 11:30 a.m., and the other at 5:30 p.m., while the third session will be held on May 30 at 5:30 p.m. Those who want to participate can register online to through Eventbrite. More details will be available soon.