Victoria to hold second public meeting on transition house proposal
Victoria town councillors will hold a second public meeting to get feedback from residents about a proposal from the UTurn Drop-in Centre to move into a former retirement home and create a transition house for people in recovery.
Councillors made the decision last Tuesday during a regular meeting at the town hall. The public consultation will not include representation from the U-Turn Centre this time around. Instead, the focus will be on the public sharing their thoughts directly with the council.
“We felt that the meeting we had (Dec. 7), there was less than 100 people, and that wasn’t a sufficient amount for us to make a decision,” Mayor Barry Dooley told The Compass on Thursday. “Now it’s out there in the public and everybody is starting to give their opinions. We feel it’s a public issue ... so we’re going to have another consultation and see what comes from there.”
The meeting is scheduled to take place Jan. 16 at the Victoria Community Centre, with the next council meeting expected shortly thereafter.
The transition house would be for people in recovery who have completed a 28-day program at provincial government treatment centres in Harbour Grace and Corner Brook and received a referral from staff at those facilities.
The transition house would have a live-in caretaker, an operations manager and a part-time social worker, and also serve as the new office and meeting space for U-Turn participants. A strict zero-tolerance policy
“We feel it’s a public issue ... so we’re going to have another consultation and see what comes from there.” Mayor Barry Dooley
for drugs and alcohol would be enforced, and random drug test would take place.
Residents would be responsible for all living expenses, including rent, during their stay, which could last for up to one year. To start, U-Turn expects to accommodate four to six residents, though that number could increase in several years.
The owners of the building have offered to donate it to the U-Turn Centre, which currently operates in Carbonear.
While there were people in the audience at the Dec. 7 public consultation, others voiced concerns about the location at the former Victorian Retirement Home, which is close to several homes and businesses.
The potential of a plebiscite vote to decide whether or not to accept the U-Turn proposal was also mentioned during the Dec. 7 meeting. Dooley told The Compass that option remains on the table.