The plan to open a new clinic to help addicts in Halifax got a rough ride Friday night at a community meeting.
About 100 people turned out in Fairview to hear the clinic is opening next week whether residents in the area like it or not.
"It was thrust upon the people here with no knowledge," said Terry Hueston. "And it makes you very distrustful of them."
Direction 180 has been helping addicts in downtown Halifax for more than a decade. But an expansion into a more residential neighbourhood with little advance warning has made some of its new neighbours frustrated and fearful.
Emotions ran high at the meeting on both sides of the issue. A cafe owner wanted to know what the clinic will add to the community.
"What are you going to do for the community that other businesses and residents have done?" asked Kendall O'Connor.
Many in the meeting room were seniors concerned not specifically with the clinic but with the addicts it serves.
"They're confused and scared and rather than us arguing, let's get together as a community and figure this out together," said Lisa Sullivan.
The clinic has been talking to a citizens group and to a landlord trying to find another suitable home, but that's been a frustrating and sometimes painful exercise for the woman who runs Direction 180.
"He said we'll have to put them where they won't mingle with anyone else, and I said they're not lepers," said Cindy MacIsaac, the executive director of Direction 180.
There are people in Fairview who agree there should be a clinic for people in the area but where it should be located is up for debate.
"I'm reassured with regards that there is a need there," said Jim Young. "The need is definitely there whether it's going to be done properly. Whether that's the right place for it is another story."
The people who run the clinic say it will open some time next week.
Fairview residents opposed to the clinic say they'll keep a close eye on operations to ensure the clinic is run properly and there's no trouble as a result.