Peterborough County council to consider support for MZO request for proposed detox facility

·2 min read

Peterborough County’s chief administrative officer is recommending that county council send a letter to the province supporting the Canadian Mental Health Association Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge’s application to speed up rezoning for the proposed site of a drug detox facility in Peterborough.

In early May, Peterborough—Kawartha MPP Dave Smith announced that funding had been secured for a new 12-bed drug detox and treatment facility — part of an effort to combat ongoing opioid and drug-related deaths.

The addictions treatment centre, poised to open its doors in the fall, will be operated and overseen by CMHA-HKPR, in partnership with Fourcast.

The provincial government is spending $1.138 million in funding from the Addiction Recovery Fund for the two-year pilot program, while Peterborough county and city are both contributing $100,000 each.

CMHA-HKPR’s Safe Bed hub — located at 24 Paddock Wood on Peterborough’s Armour Road — has been identified as the future site of the bed-based residential treatment facility. The long-running Safe Bed program offers short-term stays for people experiencing mental health crises.

But CMHA-HKPR aims to rezone the property. To use the facility for medical detoxification, the association wants to change the site’s current residential designation to a public service designation — and fast.

It’s asking the provincial government to speed the rezoning process up by greenlighting a minister’s zoning order (MZO). The Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs oversees the issuing of MZOs to expedite development projects. The often lengthy rezoning process is sped up through MZOs because certain consultations are bypassed.

During a committee meeting earlier this month, Peterborough city council voted to back CMHA-HKPR’s provincial MZO request.

Peterborough County’s chief administrative officer Sheridan Graham is now asking county council to do the same. Graham is recommending that council members vote in favour of sending a letter, written by county Warden Bonnie Clark, to the provincial government in support of the mental health association’s request.

“This letter is to confirm that Peterborough County supports the Canadian Mental Health Association’s application for a (MZO) to enable the establishment of a residential detox and treatment centre at the present Paddock Wood site in Peterborough,” states the letter.

County council is set to vote on the recommendation Wednesday.

Peterborough city and county has seen a steady increase in drug related deaths and overdoses. Last year, 539 people attended the emergency department due to an overdose and emergency medical services fielded 357 overdose calls, with 59 suspected drug poisoning deaths recorded. There have already been 26 in the first four months of this year.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner