New Brunswick

Building repairs force remote Saint John addiction centre to close this fall

A live-in facility for men struggling with addiction is closing its doors in the fall because the building is in need of repairs.

Lonewater Farm will relocate to Ridgewood Addiction and Mental Health Services

Lonewater Farm is a remote rehabilitation centre about four kilometres north of Grand Bay-Westfield. (Submitted by Horizon Health Network)

A live-in facility for men struggling with addiction is closing its doors this fall because the building is in desperate need of repairs and difficult to maintain.

Lonewater Farm, a remote rehabilitation centre about four kilometres north of Grand Bay-Westfield, will relocate its early addiction recovery program to Ridgewood Addiction Services in west Saint John. 

"The property, is quite large and we see this [move] as a very positive augmentation of services for our clients," said Susan Neal, the area manager for Horizon's addiction and mental health services for the Saint John region. 

Although the building is in need of upgrades, Neal said Horizon also decided to move the Lonewater program to Ridgewood because clients there have easier access to addiction-based services.

Those services include a detox unit, a 28-day rehabilitation program and a team of outpatient counsellors.

Ridgewood Addiction Services in Saint John is renovating an existing building to accommodate Lonewater Farm clients in the fall. (CBC)

A remote location

Lonewater's remote location also played a factor in the move, as well access to the current services on site.

The facility at Ridgewood will feature private bathrooms for patients. It's also closer to a bus route, which helps  clients nearing discharge and looking for affordable housing.

Lonewater Farms opened in the 1960s. It's a place where men struggling with alcoholism would go to address their addiction while working on a farm.

Over time, however, the focus of the addiction centre shifted. It now offers early recovery services, which involves setting up a personalized recovery plan with each client. Resident's participate in group activities and daily communal tasks, like cleaning. 

People typically stay at Lonewater between one and three months.

New building for new clients

Horizon is investing more than $300,000 to renovate one of its existing buildings at Ridgewood into a 14-bed residential early recovery centre, where the former Lonewater clients will be housed. 

Although the switch means losing 10 beds for people struggling with addiction, Neal said the Lonewater facility struggles to keep a 100 per cent capacity as is.

The average occupancy rate for Lonewater Farm has been around 78 per cent for the past year. That's because not all clients require the level of service Lonewater offers.

"Early recovery is for our most vulnerable male clients specifically," she said.

"Not every client that is dealing with a substance use disorder requires this level of service."

Those employed at Lonewater Farm will continue to be employed at Horizon's Ridgewood centre.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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