Originally, the plan was to purchase and renovate a building in town, but after consulting with Bruce Reid of WL Construction, it makes more sense to build a brand new facility.
"The cost of buying a building and renovating it to the standards you need to have for a residential treatment facility like this would be as much as it would to build a purpose-built building from the ground up."
Now they're looking at purchasing 10 to 12 acres of rural land outside of the municipality, and hope to break ground in the spring. Lantz, who acts as Chair of the Society, explains that in visiting with Executive Directors of other treatment facilities in the province, he's learned it is better to keep patients away from certain "temptations" in town.
"When you bring in people with addictions to a facility like this, they're committed when they go in to making changes in their life," he explains. "During the course of their treatment, you want them to be focused on their treatment and their recovery. If there are temptations down the street, you might lose a few people that way."
Initially, the facility will have room for 10 men and 10 women, but will not offer programs for youth at the outset. As it will be a modular-type building, there will be the possibility for expansion later down the road. There will now be three levels of treatment offered: a 28 day program, a 42 day program and a 60 day program. Counsellors will help patients choose which is right for them.
"Obviously, the longer your treatment program, the more likelihood there is of success," argues Lantz. "Some of these treatment programs run for a year."
However, the Society's board believes a year-long program wouldn't get the uptake here, as people can't get the time off work. There will also be aftercare offered, as well as "refresher" courses, that could be taken over a week or weekend. As support is integral to recovery, there will also be spousal programs.
"Obviously, if you're not getting the support at home, then you're going to backslide pretty quickly," says Lantz.
The facility is expected to have extensive recreational activities, like a workout room and outdoor multipurpose court, to provide a healthy break for patients.
At this point, it looks like the cost for treatment will run around $3,750. However, Lantz emphasizes that the program will not just be for individuals who can afford it. Northern Health has requested a number of beds be set aside for people who come through their counselling program, and in turn they will pay a per diem, which will cover part of their treatment.
"Through donations and other mechanisms, we will be able to make up that difference," he explains. "So there will be a broad spectrum of people; nobody will be turned away because they aren't employed or don't have a sponsor. We will find the money for them."
In addition to Northern Health, the facility has the support of the local, provincial and federal government, and has secured financial support from several oil and gas companies.
An open house, with displays on the project, will be held on January 31 at 6 p.m. at the Quality Inn. Memberships in the Society cost $20.