Former downtown bar pegged as new location for Yellowknife sobering centre – North

Yellowknife’s sobering centre could soon be moving to a downtown building that was once a notorious bar called the Right Spot.

The location on 50th Street, beside the Northern Lites Motel and across the street from the Northern News Services newspaper office, would also house a day shelter for homeless people.

Ironically, however, the centre could find itself homeless for a while.

Described as a safe space for intoxicated people to recuperate, the sobering centre has been temporarily housed since July at the Yellowknife arena, but it needs to be out of that spot by Friday to make room for other programming.

The proposal to use the former Right Spot building must still be approved by the city, and council isn’t set to review it until Sept. 25.

If the move is OK’d, the building will need to undergo significant renovations and upgrades that could take months, Health Minister Glen Abernethy said at a public meeting Monday evening.

In the meantime, his department hopes to work with the city to find another temporary location.

Julie Green, the MLA for Yellowknife Centre, said that could also take a while. 

“It’s going to be difficult to locate a place because they have looked very hard for space for the sobering centre and it hasn’t been easy to find. Finding something on short notice is going to be very challenging,” she said, adding that gaps in service would be a concern.

“I don’t want to see any break in service. I also don’t want to see the people hired to offer the safe ride program and the sobering centre program to be laid off for an indeterminate period of time,” said Green.

“I am a little concerned people will go back to Stanton hospital as the primary drop off.”

Abernethy said the new location — most recently occupied by a graphics and printing company that relocated elsewhere — was chosen after assessing 22 potential sites. It was brought to their attention by Bruce Valpy, publisher at Northern News Services,…

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