A momentous week for city
IT’S not often the rural city gets to celebrate not one but two major developments in the space of 24 hours.
On Wednesday the location of the new drug and alcohol residential and rehabilitation centre was announced as the former Ovens College site in Greta Road with design expected to begin soon and construction within 12 months.
While there is no specific value on the new facility it is estimated to be in excess of $10 million from the State Government and part of a $40 million fund to build four such facilities in regional Victoria.
On Thursday morning it was announced that $2.5 million has also been invested by the State Government to improve Wangaratta’s rail precinct.
Both these investments have the potential to substantially enhance the quality of life and future prospects for Wangaratta and district.
While there may be some criticism of the location of the rehab facility, its proximity to Wangaratta’s police headquarters should provide reassurance to those concerned about safety issues.
What needs to be remembered is that people using such a facility are far less likely to be a threat to the public and nearby residents compared to some with severe drug or alcohol issues not seeking treatment or unable to get help.
Every expert in the field has said that a residential rehabilitation facility was the highest priority for Wangaratta as it deals with this issue.
One of the other key elements of dealing with the issue for local families is its destigmatisation, especially within their own community.
Parents, siblings, children, grandparents of those who suffer from severe drug or alcohol problems need their community to stand with them, not to ostracise them further.