A new 53-bed addiction treatment centre in North Bay is one step closer to reality.
On Friday morning dignitaries gathered at the former car dealership on Lakeshore Drive in North Bay to do an official groundbreaking to mark another step forward in a project the province is injecting $7.9 million in funding to get the facility up and running by the summer of 2023.
Michael Tibollo, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions was joined by Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli at the media conference.
"One of the things we have seen over and over again is the north has been underrepresented with things like looking after people's mental health and addictions," said Tibollo.
Tibollo says he toured many parts of Northern Ontario including some remote and rural areas.
"You see the need for support in the local areas," he said.
"We need to support them where they live, and when they go they go looking for help elsewhere and that is what I believe is the reason for the homeless situation in Sudbury and North Bay.
The Northern Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre of Excellence will be a Healing, Education and Wellness (HEW) hub. The facility will include residential withdrawal management, residential addiction treatment, and residential supportive treatment beds.
Canadore is expected to manage the centre and use it as a teaching facility.
“Canadore College is pleased to be providing this additional capacity to fight the growing problem of addiction in our region,” said President and CEO George Burton.
“This new Healing, Education and Wellness hub will reduce wait times for treatment and connect with mental health services adapted to individual client needs.”
However, Burton admits this is only a resource.
"The one thing we have to keep in mind is this is just another tool in the tool chest because it is a very complex problem," Burton told the media.
"Addictions, homelessness and poverty are all interrelated and every individual has a different set of circumstances. This is just one service and you will see more evolving over time because it is in our interest to help these people manage their addictions so they become productive members of society."