Pubdate: Thu, 10 Jan 2013
Source: Daily Courier, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2013 The Okanagan Valley Group of Newspapers
Author: Roohi Sahajpal


It's been an uphill battle for Kelowna's Crossroads Treatment Centre,
but after years of funding struggles, the facility is closing in the
next 90 days.

Sixty-nine full-time, part-time and casual staff will lose their

"We've been so good at making it work on almost nothing for so long
that it caught up with us," executive director Shelley Gilmore said at
a press conference on Wednesday.

The board of directors announced that with a debt of $1.3 million and
another $300,000 owed in grants, they have run out of options.

"We've explored multiple possible solutions, but with the debt the
society has incurred over the years, there doesn't seem to be a way
out," Gilmore said. "We've run out of time."

In order to remain open, the facility required $132 a bed a day, for
38 beds. Interior Health provided $92 a bed.

"We can't speak for the IHA. They have their own budget concerns, and
they had to come to the table with what they think is reasonable," she

The facility provides 42-day treatment programs for men and women
suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, as well as a detox program.

"The board made the decision now instead of three or six months ago to
avoid bankruptcy to help our staff and our clients and to not have our
staff in line as a creditor. The hope is that we can help all of our
employees transition," added Gilmore.

The Hospital Employees' Union, which represents about 45 workers at
Crossroads, said in a press release that with the closure, the
Okanagan is without any comprehensive detox and addiction services
programs outside a hospital setting.

"Leaving Okanagan residents without access to these vital health
services is simply not an option," said HEU secretary-business manager
Bonnie Pearson. "If the funding issues cannot be resolved with the
society, the IHA should be prepared to consider other options to
maintain these services up to and including taking over the centre's

The board plans to sell the building on Franklyn Road in Rutland to
pay off debts.

The not-for-profit society has faced financial problems since it
opened in 1975.

Last year, the loss of a $150,000 provincial gaming grant forced the
centre to close its recovery housing for men and women.

"Clients are starting to know this has happened. They are devastated.
They have been here a couple of times, and they are very upset that
this service is not going to be available for them," Gilmore said.

Dean DeSousa is one of those clients.

"I first came to Crossroads 17 years ago. I was an 18-year-old kid.
And as a result, I've remained sober for quite a good period of time."

DeSousa recently returned to the facility and will be completing his
treatment at Crossroads.

"I came all the way from Vancouver because it has a really good name
of being one of the top treatment centres in British Columbia, and
it's a shame that it's going to be closing in a short period of time.
But I'm glad I've been able to get treatment prior to the closure."

The treatment centre will close in 90 days, followed by the detox
centre after current clients have completed their program.
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D