Emotions ran high at a meeting about a possible addictions recovery centre coming to Winnipeg's Assiniboia area.

Almost all of the people who packed into the Heritage Victoria Community Centre Saturday afternoon attended because they don’t want the proposed Bruce Oake Recovery Centre in the neighbourhood.

The City of Winnipeg and province are eyeing the decommissioned Vimy Arena as the site for the centre, a long term drug treatment facility backed by Bruce's dad Scott Oake.

St. Charles Ward City Councillor Shawn Dobson organized the meeting to provide information to residents. He also told people to hand out flyers, sign a petition and invited them to attend a city council meeting on Wednesday to voice their opposition.

"Now remember this is not a ‘nimby’, not in my backyard. This is actually a 'nirby'. Not in anybody's residential backyard,” said Dobson.

"My fear is that people will not feel as safe in the community. Even if it’s not true,” said one woman at the meeting.

Dobson said the non-profit Equal Opportunities West which helps people with intellectual disabilities and is located just blocks away from the Vimy Arena has been vying for the same property, but has been getting the run around from the city.

Jerry Jackson has been going to equal opportunities west for a decade and attended the meeting with his mother, Laurie. Laurie said while both people with addictions and intellectual disabilities have needs, her son's organization is desperate for space.

"They also have funding and opportunities that probably greater than what our group would have for that," Jackson said.


Two former addicts at the meeting said the recovery centre is needed and there is nothing to fear.

Both men say they live nearby but got help at the same facility in a residential neighbourhood in Nanaimo B.C..

"I volunteered in old folks homes,” said Jonathan Parker. I went and did all these things with people in the community that loved me for doing it, and said great you're getting sober."

"One of the big concerns the other night was having something like this so close to schools and I looked at it like it was such a positive to have a resource so close where they could ask questions and get help," said Derrick Wiebe.

Mayor Brian Bowman previously said a report still has to come forward for a vote along with public consultation.

He said also wants to help Equal Opportunities West find a new facility in the area.

The province released this statement about the property in early November.

“Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation recently sent a letter to the City of Winnipeg that confirms the province's interest in negotiating a possible land transfer of 255 Hamilton Avenue from the city to MHRC to support the Bruce Oake Memorial Foundation Inc.’s development plan.

The foundation’s goal is to provide  transitional housing to vulnerable people along with longer-term supports for drug and alcohol addiction. The foundation would be responsible for all costs. This property acquisition would assist MHRC achieve its goals of helping provide different housing options and supporting those in need.”