Walkaway drug and alcohol centre approved for go ahead

Proposed Mount Hill Walkaway community farm which will provide rehabilitation for drug and alcohol addicts has been approved.

At last nights council meeting over 70 people attended the debate and heard as the council voted 11 -2 in favour of the go ahead rehab centre, even in despite of a petition against the centre with over 270 signatures. Hope Community Services (HCS) are the company behind the centre and are a community services organisation that provides support services to people affected by alcohol and drugs. A range of services are offered by HCS including programs directed to those at risk, counselling services, rehabilitation programs, supervised residential accommodation and transitional housing accommodation.

The proposed Community Farm will enable HCS to expand its services in the Midwest, both in their ability to offer services via the therapeutic community model and their ability to offer supervised accommodation services.

HCS has received a $2 million grant from the Western Australian Royalties for Regions Program that required the development of a detailed business case which was required to demonstrate a quantifiable return on investment, based on a sustainable economic and environmental model.

The land to be developed is located within the locality of Mount Hill and is approximately 15 km south-east from the Walkaway townsite via Nangetty – Walkaway and Allanooka Springs Roads. The site for the centre is approximately 42 km from Geraldton and is located just north of the local authority boundary with the Shire of Irwin.

Proposed development includes an extension to the rear (south) of the existing shed of approximately 130m2, giving a total of 300m2.

Three accommodation units are proposed although only 2 will be initially constructed. The units will be 98m2 each and the floor plan for each accommodation unit will comprise 4 bedrooms with 2 single beds, clothes storage and table/desk and an additional inclusive access (disabled) bedroom. Each accommodation unit will house up to 9 residents and a maximum of 27 residents could ultimately be accommodated at any one time.

The unique locational and physical attributes of the subject land and its high aesthetic appeal, make this an ideal setting for the centre. In addition, the property well developed with infrastructure which can be expanded upon in the future also make the area ideal for the development of the community farm.

The coordination and delivery of therapy programs will be managed in accordance with established HCS programs, management and reporting guidelines. Participants enter into HCS residential programs voluntarily and are not bound to remain in programs. Farm residents will not be referred from the WA Police Service or Justice Department sectors. They will come from current HCS programs at Rosella House or other HCS locations. HCS accepts referrals from drug and alcohol agencies, mental health services, GP’s, welfare agencies, private counsellors, families and self-referral.

All clients accepted into the program are required to have undergone a pre- admission processes including, but not limited to, medical detoxification, mental health and readiness for change assessment. This ensures not only the safety of the individual, the facility and wider community but ensures the client has maximum opportunity to achieve success.

The facility will have 5 to 7 full time employees, with a minimum of 4 to 5 staff on-site at any time during normal business hours, and 1 to 2 staff on-site for evenings and overnight. The community farm will be managed and overseen by a combination of service manager, farm manager, project manager, support workers and care providers and will be staffed 24 hours a day every day of the year.

The HCS has said they have accessed the risks involved and addressed the publics concerns and has put a comprehensive risk management system in place. This includes detailed assessments to determine suitability for potential entry into the program, it should also be noted that the program is not for withdrawal/detoxification purposes.