GLENBURNIE-BIRCHY HEAD-SHOAL BROOK — The owners of a drug and alcohol treatment facility which opened last week in Glenburnie hope their open house helped alleviate concerns of local residents.
Serenity on the Rock opened last Monday in the Red Mantle Lodge in Glenburnie. Residents expressed concern and some suspicion at the opening due to it being unknown locally the facility was planning on operating in the community.
Add to that, the fact the facility was refused a property in Northern Arm, near Bishop’s Falls in January, which heightened some residents suspicions.
But Saturday’s open house attracted between 60-70 people from the Glenburnie-Birchy Head-Shoal Brook area and co-owner Sherri Skeans said she was pleased with what she was hearing from the visitors.
Skeans said there is a lack of awareness and a stigmatism when it comes to mental health issues and drug and alcohol abuse, which she believes is the reason locals were skeptical about the treatment centre’s opening.
“We really need to change people’s minds about these issues,” said Skeans. “We have a focus on helping people here, we can’t keep this buried in the closet.”
The facility was set to open in January in Northern Arm, however, that town’s council refused to allow it, reportedly changing the property designation of the space Serenity had chosen. Serenity owners plan to keep the name, Red Mantle Lodge, on the building and call the facility a tourist lodging that offers cognitive behaviour therapy and other programs. Skeans said there is no alcohol stocked on the premises.
Reservations booked for summer
They already have reservations for the summer.
Residents in attendance during the two-hour open house seemed to be in favour of Serenity.
“I was scared at first, I’ll admit,” said Betty Simms of Birchy Head. “People heard the word addiction and they were afraid, but from what I’m seeing here today I don’t think there will be a problem.”
Gladys Lee of Glenburnie said she was concerned about there being no support system in place in case something goes wrong.
“The nearest police are in Rocky Harbour, that’s a long way to go if something happens,” she said. “But I listened to what they had to say here today and I think it’s safe.”
Others are looking at Serenity from a status of economics. Ruby Young of Birchy Head worked at the Red Mantle Lodge and she hopes she’ll get to work there again. Indeed, the facility will eventually be looking to increase its staffing levels.
“It’s just a family-oriented place with no alcohol and they help people that need help,” said Young.
Serenity on the Rock is a subsidiary of the Serenity Ranch in Tees, Alta. Owners of Serenity Ranch will eventually open similar facilities in Canada and the United States.