The Northreach Society is one step closer to a new home in Grande Prairie. Currently located on 102 Street near 100 Avenue, the education and outreach centre now has committee approval to move to their administration office to 9613 – 98 Street.
Executive Director Melissa Byers says she was a little surprised when she was met with a number of questions from both committee members and the public when walking into the meeting on Tuesday morning.
“Going through that engagement process, we found people were actually in support of our services and often times they really had no idea what we did. Once we were able to provide that information, they kind of understood what we were doing and were on board.”
A lot of the pushback from the general public circled around worries of a supervised consumption site or overnight stays. Byers says the team had no plan to put either of them in place in their current or proposed new location.
“We had zero intentions of having an overnight shelter. Again, that kind of goes back to how things start and catch fire, and become bigger issues than they actually are.”
Initially created in the 1980s during the peak of the HIV epidemic, the Northreach Society has since branched out to cover a variety of topics including education on gender and sexual diversity, drug use, harm reduction, women’s health, pregnancy, and outreach services.
Any changes will still need the green light from city council before they become official.