WHILE the proposed drug and alcohol treatment centre in Smeaton has faced significant backlash since its initial announcement in late 2015, a similar centre in Halls Gap has been embraced by the local community.
The idea for Bradshaw House in Halls Gap had initially been floated in early 2015, when a group of drug and alcohol treatment specialists resolved to build a facility in regional Victoria.
Co-creator of Bradsaw House Nicola King, who has 24 years experience in drug and alcohol treatment, said the Halls Gap facility provided a haven for both regional and metropolitan Victorians, as well as patients from interstate.
“Our experience demonstrates if you pluck someone out of the main hub and put them in a spiritual location like Halls Gap, environment impacts recovery heavily.”
Like the proposed Smeaton facility, Bradshaw House is not a detox centre, meaning people under the influence of drugs and alcohol are not on the premises. The two facilities are also similar in that both cater to a small client base, with no more than 12 people booked in at any given time at Halls Gap.
Bradshaw House has been operating for little over a month now, and Ms King said the facility had developed a strong connection with the local community.
“We've embraced the community and they’re all involved in the project,” Ms King said. “We’ve had the locals contribute to everything from sign writing right through to supplying food for the centre.
“We’re hoping Halls Gap will now be known as the healing capital of Victoria.”
The proposal for the Smeaton facility is set to go before the Hepburn Shire council at its April meeting, after initially being presented to council in early 2015. The operators of the facility had originally planned to have the service up and running by the start of 2016.
A group of concerned Smeaton residents called the Smeaton Community Objectors Committee have vowed to take the matter to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal if council approves the facility.