Family opposition to Michener Centre closure softens
Alberta to close Red Deer facility for people with developmental disabilities
Some family members of people who live in the Michener Centre say they have come to accept the closure of the Red Deer facility.
About 125 residents of the centre for people with developmental disabilities will be moved into group homes and other settings later this year.
The provincial government has been under pressure from the families of Michener clients to reconsider that decision.
But after a meeting on Wednesday night with Frank Oberle, the associate minister of services for persons with disabilities, many family members had warmed up to the government’s plan.
"I think Minister Oberle and his staff did a pretty good job this afternoon of opening our eyes up to what the possibilities are and I think we're very much reassured," said Laurence Johnson, whose brother-in-law has lived at Michener for more than 50 years.
"We still do have a number of questions you know there's some trust elements there that need to be worked on."
Lorraine Johnson, whose brother has lived at Michener for 50 years, said she wasn't optimistic going in to Wednesday’s meeting.
"I fought against him moving anywhere but I think after today's meeting I feel a little more reassured, as long as they fulfill what they have said they're going to do," she said.
Dave Lawson, who heads the Lethbridge Association for Community Living, said the closure will mean people can move family members closer to home.
"And as long as families drive this and their will and their wishes are listened to in community-based services, they will be successful and people will flourish," he said.
One support group advised families to boycott yesterday's meeting, saying the only discussion should be about keeping the centre open.
"I understand there's some concern and some anger and that's that. I really am disappointed about the boycott though because today we had a really productive meeting," Oberle said.
Oberle said the closure is going ahead and it's better for families to work with the province on the move.