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Sunday, September 25, 2022

Public input sought on community addictions hub design, programming – The Sarnia Observer

Bluewater Health is looking for ideas about how a community addictions hub planned for the first three floors of a separate, vacant hospital building in Sarnia should be designed and function.
Bluewater Health is looking for ideas about how a community addictions hub planned for the first three floors of a separate, vacant hospital building in Sarnia should be designed and function.

“We’re trying to really encourage wish-list-type feedback or recommendations,” said Bluewater Health’s Keith Marnoch.

“We’ll try to figure out the best way of being able to accommodate that.”

A 90-minute public input meeting, starting at 7 p.m., is planned Monday, Sept. 19 at the Front Street Royal Canadian Legion branch in Sarnia.

An online survey is also open until Sept. 30 for people to offer suggestions about the kind of community services that should be included in the hub, how the space should look and feel, and other suggestions about programming and services.

It’s hoped people who’ve used the interim withdrawal management services beds and programs at Sarnia’s hospital, or at Ryan’s House – together a hub stopgap – weigh in about what’s been working well and what could be improved, Marnoch said.

Architect ROA Studios Inc. will be at the public input session and will give a presentation about plans for the new space, expected to open within two to three years, to frame the discussion, Marnoch said.

“We’re hoping we get a good turnout.”

The vacant hospital building at Russell Street and London Road where the hub will be housed – $12.2 million in provincial funding for the project was announced earlier this year – will have a distinct entrance and be a separate entity from Sarnia’s hospital, Marnoch said.

A firewall currently exists between the buildings and “the two will be made completely separate” during construction, he said.

The first floor is planned for shared services and reception, while the second and third are queued for programming and client living spaces, he said.

“’How does that get divided up? What are the considerations around that?’ Those are likely the broad space considerations,” he said, noting the general aim is for a welcoming and comfortable space.

There’s no immediate funding or plan to look at repurposing the vacant upper floors in the building, he said.

Programming considerations will be about what’s been helpful or not with existing programs, he said, noting other focus groups have already been held with hospital group personnel and other community partners.

“People are really eager to give their thoughts on it,” he said.

“We’re hoping the public are appreciative and take advantage of the opportunity to have their say on this.”

To access the survey, visit surveymonkey.com/r/HN5R7XJ.

tkula@postmedia.com

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