Addiction recovery centre to get major renovation

Why having recovery centres in urban areas is so important

The Tamarack Recovery Centre (TRC) is on track for a renovation. Despite some opposition toward recovery centres in urban areas, addiction recovery centres are still an important part of Winnipeg’s urban landscape.

While TRC is still awaiting the official permit, the City of Winnipeg’s Board of Adjustment has approved the proposed renovation. According to Lisa Cowan, the centre’s executive director, the TRC’s renovation plan began with updating the house’s very old kitchen, but after conducting a needs assessment with the in-house and aftercare clients, TRC’s renovation became a much greater undertaking.

The current renovation plan includes an expanded kitchen, private space for family visits, larger rooms for group therapy, a parking lot and office space for the staff. Cowan was clear that this renovation would not expand TRC’s day-to-day client base, but rather “make the space really workable for the ones we have.”

In an email statement, Fort Rouge - East Fort Garry Coun. Jenny Gerbasi said that “Tamarack is a valued place in our community that provides much-needed treatment services. Expanding those services and facilities  is something we need very much now more than ever.”

TRC operates out of a century-old home on Balmoral Street and provides what Cowan describes as “longer-term addictions treatment,” which means treatment lasting longer than 60 days for up to 12 individuals at a time.

Cowan says treatment includes “morning and afternoon therapy and education groups, as well as one-to-one counselling at least once a week with a specific
counsellor.”

Individuals who complete the program have access to aftercare services, such as continued counselling, peer-support groups and working with the client’s family, free of cost, for as long as needed.

“That’s one thing that really sets (the TRC) apart from other treatment facilities: our capacity to provide our graduates with unlimited aftercare support,” Cowan says.

“We recognize that complex trauma is often part and parcel with the ... reality of addiction, so they might be working on healing from trauma, or they might want to work with our aftercare worker in terms of working on their recovery plan and relapse-prevention plan.”

The ability to do extensive follow-ups with clients is one of the benefits of having recovery centres in urban areas.

“Our clients really benefit from being close to the services that any citizen of Winnipeg needs. I mean, part of recovery is getting back into life and back into the community with which you belong, so it’s important then to be able to facilitate those connections to the
community,” Cowan says.

Cowan understands why people may be uncomfortable with the prospect of having an addictions recovery centre in their neighbou rhood but she explained that in practice, these centres rarely lead to negative outcomes for the neighbourhoods in which they are located.

Published in Volume 73, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 6, 2018)

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