Renovations, staffing costs key issues; property ownership somewhat unclear
© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
The suggestion that the old Prince Edward Home on Brighton Road could become an expanded addictions treatment facility merits some consideration but it will take more than simple words or suggestions for that to happen.
Health Minister Doug Currie says he is open to exploring the suggestion offered by NDP Leader Mike Redmond about the future use for the Prince Edward Home which will see its long-term, rehab and convalescent patients moved out later this week into a state-of-art $23-million facility on Maypoint Road.
The old building could offer a solution for the province which needs more room for addictions treatment. The Mount Herbert facility is full and stretched to its limits. It has a long-time focus on adults suffering from alcohol addictions. There is a need to help younger Islanders suffering from opiate and prescription drug addiction issues.
Those issues will likely be addressed when Mr. Currie releases his long-awaited mental health and addictions review later this week, and he may even identify a proposed location. There is a growing concern over the skyrocketing rate of addiction to prescription drugs in P.E.I. and how this is creating extended wait times for detox and rehabilitation programs at Mount Herbert.
There are several problems facing the old Prince Edward Home. The building would have to be renovated or modified to house addiction treatment programs. That would be an unbudgeted item. Mr. Currie said with residents just vacating the building, it is too soon to say whether it could be a viable option.
Besides the cost of modifying the building, there is also the question of staffing. People are already over-worked at Mount Herbert and the staff at the Prince Edward Home will all be moving to Maypoint Road, leaving the old home vacant. To convert the older facility to a youth addiction treatment centre will require a number of staffers, again an unbudgeted item.
Then there is the murky issue of title to the property. When that northeast portion of the Government House property was ceded to build the Prince Edward Island Hospital in the early 1930s, there appears to be an attachment on the deed. It’s the interpretation of some people that in the event that facility ceased to be a hospital, it would revert back as part of the Government House property as green space.
There is concern the property is being eyeballed by the province for more parking to accommodate the nearby government buildings and instead of attractive green space to welcome residents and Islanders to Victoria Park, it would become a concrete and asphalt eyesore.
There has been long-standing confusion surrounding the ownership, control and uses of Victoria Park and Government House properties between the city and province. The city could well intervene if the province plans to take unilateral action to alter the use of the old Prince Edward Home property.
Ensure Halloween remains fun
P.E.I. motorists are asked to be extra vigilant for young Halloween trick-or-treaters Thursday.
Children will be darting across streets and driveways, often wearing dark clothing and sometimes without adult supervision tomorrow evening.
In their excitement, youngsters may not always look both ways or take precautions. Drivers must follow the speed limit, slow down through neighbourhoods and watch for children crossing streets or emerging from between parked cars.
Everyone wants to enjoy a safe and fun Halloween so slow down and be careful, especially until the start of the general curfew at 8 p.m. The weather forecast is for cool temperatures and clear skies into the early evening, with showers moving in overnight.