Council poised to reject riverfront addictions centre

Tyler Clarke
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Previously occupied by Natural Roots Health & Whole Foods, there’s a proposal in the works for an addictions centre to take residence in the building. 

It’s a tricky thing saying “no” to a drug addictions centre.


There’s always the perception that one is opposing the facility’s efforts or debating its merits, Coun. Don Cody said.

However, an addictions centre is not conductive to Prince Albert’s riverfront, he said.

It’s anticipated that the city’s elected officials will deny an addictions centre proposed for 21 River St. W.

“Those people will do good work, there’s no doubt about that, but the thing is, there are other places,” Cody said.

“Here we are trying to develop the riverbank, and we want some paying customers down there, and not only that but we’d like to develop it so we’d get some taxation.”

Cody is chair of the Pehonan Parkway Board -- an organization charged with mapping out the future of the parkway, which hugs the city’s stretch of riverbank as well as Little Red River Park.

Although the south side of River Street West is not included in the parkway’s borders, it’s close enough to affect it, Cody said.

The commercial side of River Street must jive with the park space to the north, he said, noting that the entire area needs to draw tourists and community members.

An addictions centre would not do this, he concluded.

“You want to make it so that it’s an attraction,” he said. “It’s a tourist attraction for people to come from all over the world to see what we’ve got.”

Offering a counterpoint to the addictions centre, Cody said that a large commercial building would be nice to see on the south side of River Street.

With condominium units on top and small shops on the bottom, it would enrich the riverfront and draw members of the community, he said.

The addictions centre proposal currently before council for 21 River St. W. is under the service mantra of Addicts Victorious – similar to the well-known Alcoholics Anonymous.

Although its proponent, Steve Kember, has not been available for comment, a letter to council outlines his proposal’s merits in a letter to council.

Free of charge, the program would consist of regular meetings with people who desire to overcome their addictions.

A Christian missionary, Kember wrote that he hopes to teach people respect; “First for God, then to parents as well as to those in authority.”

Such programming would be better suited for another area of the city, Cody concluded.

The city’s elected officials will tackle the project’s development permit application during a public hearing attached to the June 23 city council meeting.

However, given the tone of Monday’s executive committee meeting, during which the mayor and a handful of councillors spoke against the proposal, it’s set up for rejection.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Pehonan Parkway Board, Alcoholics Anonymous

Geographic location: 21 River St., River Street West, Little Red River Park

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