C.B. addiction centre closing

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Halifax Chronicle Herald

March 7, 2012 – 12:21pm

By MARY ELLEN MacINTYRE Cape Breton Bureau

The person who took over as interim executive director of Talbot House after Father Paul Abbass took a leave of absence from the recovery centre last month has stepped down.

As a result, the board of Talbot House has closed the doors of the recovery centre and is making alternate plans for what is believed to be 14 residents.

The residents are all recovering from various kinds of addictions. Just a few months ago, the Department of Community Services began what is being called an operational review of the facility and Cape Breton Regional Police began an investigation last month into allegations of sexual improprieties.

Board chairman, Dr. John Gainer issued a news release this morning.

“Balancing the well-being of residents and their recovery needs with possible risk factors were determining considerations by the board to suspend programming and close Talbot House for the foreseeable future,” he said in the release.

“The delivery of comprehensive and ongoing recovery treatment is critical and to that end the Board has been working with the Department of Community Services to relocate residents to recovery facilities elsewhere in the province.”

Meanwhile, the building is owned by the Diocese of Antigonish. Diocese spokesman, father Don MacGillivray said Wednesday morning he had no idea why the board would make such a move.

“I don’t know what the motivation is but it all looks kind of odd,” said MacGillivray, prior to the release of the news release.

“Of course, we’re concerned about the residents but we also trust that the board will do the right thing and the Department of Community Services, in regards to the residents,” he said.

The independent board of the non-profit centre makes the decisions, said MacGillivray.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Community Services said the department is ready to help find new facilities for the residents.

“We were notified the residents would be discharged,” said Amanda Pelham.

“We don’t license or regulate the facility,” she added.

The department does fund the facility, to the tune of $420,000 yearly.

Pelham said the department’s review of the recovery centre would be submitted to the board within a couple of weeks.

(mmacintyre@herald.ca)

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