Sobering assessment centre RFP issued

Centre: Timeline questioned

It’s what Paul Mason of Campbell River Family Services and many others have been working on for the past number of years, and it appears to be getting the go ahead.

Island Health has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new community-based sobering and assessment program in Campbell River.

“It’s clear that the community needs this, so it’s real validation for all our work to see this RFP issued and to know that’s where it is in the process,” Mason says. “We’ve been working on this and jumping hurdles on this for the past 3.5 years, so it’s great to see the announcement of the process beginning in earnest. Now we just have to kind of wait and see how that process progresses.”

The centre and sobering program, according to the Island Health announcement, “will consist of six to nine new sobering beds that will provide short-term services (up to 24 hours) for persons of any gender aged 17 and older who is experiencing intoxication due to drug or alcohol use.

“After a review of current substance-use services and community needs in the region, Island Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use services and community partners have determined that a sobering and assessment program would be a valuable complement to existing supports and services for individuals experiencing substance use challenges. Community partners include the First Nations Health Authority, Campbell River RCMP, Ministry of Children and Family Development, The City of Campbell River, physicians and practitioners,” the announcement said.

The successful bid will be for an owner/operator for the facility, meaning Island Health will be a partner in the project, not the operator of the facility, but they say they are looking for a bid that will see the facility staffed and running “24-hours-per-day, 365-days-per-year. The successful proponent will work closely with other community partners including Island Health to ensure clients can easily connect with additional outreach, substance use supports and other health, social and housing services when they are ready.”

It’s expected the program will be operational in late 2016, although Mason isn’t sure that’s a realistic timeframe, since a site and building would have to be included in the successful bid. Once selected through the bidding process, the proposal would then likely have to be approved by other stakeholders – such as the city – possibly rezoned, and then built, all of which take time.

Despite being unsure about the timeline, however, Mason says he’s ecstatic that the assessment centre is finally moving forward and looks forward to watching it progress.