The landlord of a building housing a methadone clinic in Cochrane is fighting back after city council passed a bylaw that would force the centre to move.

Mayor Peter Politis said when council approved the zoning of a new clinic the landlord didn't specify what kind of clinic it would be. A methadone centre has been open since May and council is worried the clinic — which dispenses the drug methadone to help patients get off opiates like heroin — could scare business away from the downtown.

Politis said there has been more drug-related crimes downtown since the centre opened.

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Methadone has been known to be abused by patients and sold as a street drug, a northern Ontario clinic operator says. (Chuck Branham/Associated Press)

"We don't feel it’s appropriate for that area and we feel it will take away and actually diminish the opportunity for the town to be successful there," he said.

'Takes a village to assist recovery'

The operator of a private methadone clinic in North Bay said methadone has been known to be abused by patients and sold as a street drug.

However Dr. Ralph Dell'Aquila says methadone can be safe and effective if monitored properly.

"I think it’s important for the treatment providers to create that healthy environment and to earn that community support," he said. "As we say it takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to assist recovery."

But the executive director of North Cochrane Addiction Services said private clinics and the province need to do more to monitor patients.

"The people who are prescribing methadone should care enough about their patients to see that if they are misusing or using other substances, they should be off [it]," Marielle Cousineau said.

She added the number of methadone clinics is growing in northern Ontario, and a new clinic is being considered in Hearst.

The landlord of the methadone clinic in Cochrane has appealed the city's new bylaw and Politis was expected to meet with the landlord on Monday.

If they can't agree on a new location for the clinic in the city, the case will go to the Ontario Municipal Board.