Thursday, February 12, 2009

Petition launched to keep Acropolis Manor open for alternative uses

Hold the wrecking balls and bulldozers, if a local campaign about to get underway is successful there may yet be life left in the Acropolis Manor.

The current residents will soon be relocating to their new homes directly across from the present structure, a state of the art long term health care facility for seniors that has long been anticipated for the community, a welcome addition to the Prince Rupert Health care infrastructure.
The pending move was to be followed by the demolition of the old Acropolis, mainly to provide parking for the new facility and that is a plan that has more than a few local residents wondering why the building can't be used for other requirements desperately needed in the community.

Among some of the suggestions so far that have been put out there include, that the building be used as a shelter for homeless men, as a detox centre or for anger management patients in the city.

Towards that goal a petition is planned to try and build up a groundswell of support to change the demolition plans and put the facility to use for the community.

The city is set to meet with Northern Health this month, but the topic of what to do with the old Acropolis Manor isn't likely to make the agenda at that meeting, the city is planning to stress the current doctor's shortage with the Northern Health board, the issue that they have identified as the number one priority for the city at the moment.

The Daily News featured the return of the Acropolis debate as the front page, headline story in Wednesday's paper.

Supporters would like to see building saved and used for greater good of community
By George T. Baker
The Daily News
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Page one

A petition is making its way around town to keep the old Acropolis Manor open for alternate use.
According to Leanne Faust, the reason the petition is circulating is because some locals are concerned that the possible closing and demolition of Acropolis would be a big missed opportunity to provide shelter for other proposed services.

"There are so many people with drug an alcohol abuse in our city that this building could really help," she said.

The argument behind the petition is that the building might be older but it isn't 'old' and that the city, if it could find the funds, and with help from Northern Health, could keep it open for a detox centre or a single-men's shelter or even anger-management.

It certainly is an idea that city Councillor Gina Garon was wondering about.

At Monday's council meeting, Garon brought up the possibility of having Northern Health keep the facility open after some refurbishments.

"If we do something that would be cost-effective, I think we could bring that forward to Northern Health," said Garon at council.

City council is expecting to meet with the regional health board soon and council discussed the possibilities of what that meeting might entail.

Mayor Jack Mussallem said he wanted to bring forth the message that Prince Rupert was in dire need of a few good doctors and was hoping that, by discussing the issue with NH, they would be able to come up with some answers to encouraging doctors to move here.

Coun. Sheila Gordon-Payne concurred with Mussallem and said that city council would like to keep its message clear when it makes an appearance at Northern Health.

"Because opinions on Acropolis Manor are varied, we should keep our meeting focused on our doctor shortage," said Gordon-Payne.

Faust, who lives on Omineca Drive and is a proud member of Hartley Bay, said she has seen the old Acropolis Manor throughout its life, said that the building still has great potential.

"It just had new siding and a new roof installed a few years ago. I live right there. I've seen it. It would not be for First Nations only but also for everyone who is suffering," said Faust.

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