Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - OPINION -

THE com­fort of home of­ten ex­tends to our sub­urb and street. As res­i­dents of an area, we are pro­tec­tive of our streetscape and the peo­ple in it. So when peo­ple un­der­go­ing drug re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion could be mov­ing in, panic sets in. Fam­i­lies fear for their safety, the quiet streets could be dis­rupted and neigh­bours band to­gether to pro­tect their home, their street and their sub­urb. This is what has hap­pened in Su­bi­aco with the Fresh Start Re­cov­ery Pro­gram pur­chas­ing the for­mer Ron­ald Mc­Don­ald House (RMH) in York Street. A vox pop of friends re­vealed sim­i­lar re­sponses… “th­ese peo­ple de­serve a chance to re­ha­bil­i­tate, as long as it’s not in my sub­urb”. But where should ad­dicts go to re­ha­bil­i­tate? They’re not all er­ratic drug ad­dicts com­ing down from a high. When I vis­ited the pro­gram sev­eral years ago, I met a mar­ried mother from New Zealand who owned a busi­ness with her hus­band. Her one glass of wine cook­ing din­ner soon be­came two bot­tles a night, lead­ing her to seek help with Dr Ge­orge O’Neil. There is no am­i­ca­ble, every­one wins so­lu­tion to this lo­cal ar­gu­ment. But the facts are that RMH is set up with a com­mer­cial kitchen, liv­ing quar­ters and se­cu­rity, as well as coun­cil ap­proval for a lodg­ing house that al­lows Fresh Start to move in. It is also fact that many res­i­dents moved into the area know­ing they were neigh­bours with a fa­cil­ity for sick chil­dren and their fam­i­lies, not peo­ple un­der­go­ing re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion for ad­dic­tion. Th­ese facts sug­gest the two groups, Fresh Start and res­i­dents, will need to man­age the ar­range­ment be­cause it ap­pears to be a fore­gone con­clu­sion.

Denise S. Cahill, Ed­i­tor

The for­mer Ron­ald Mc­Don­ald House.

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