After an open council meeting Tuesday night in the Bonne Bay town, Mayor Marilyn Wight said she feels good about the drug and alcohol treatment facility being in the area, despite Serenity opening so suddenly last Monday.
The centre was denied a place in Northern Arm back in January, and had been looking for a new area in which to provide its treatment programs. The company purchased the Red Mantle Lodge in Glenburnie, and set up shop offering what its spokesperson called a drug and alcohol-free establishment for families and those struggling with addiction issues.
Wight acknowledged the concern some local residents showed when the facility opened in their town, but the company, she said, did nothing wrong.
“It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have better communication because, had we known, we could have asked about it,” Wight said. “But in reality, if they come in and they’re operating the same kind of business that was there before, then they don’t require any new licenses or anything from council.”
In short, she said, Serenity on the Rock is not legally bound to inform council of anything if Serenity representatives are not changing the business, and that applies to any other venture opening in the area.
Wight said the centre could actually provide the area with services to make it more attractive to visitors, with yoga programs, women’s wellness seminars and other educational programs that promote a healthy lifestyle.
“We were concerned because here on the south side of Bonne Bay we’re challenged for accommodations,” said the mayor. “We didn’t want to lose an accommodation, but I’m really pleased that they will still operate as the Red Mantle.”
Last Saturday, the facility’s open house attracted more than 60 residents. Co-owner Sherri Skeans said there is a stigmatism when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse and mental health issues that needs to be addressed.