Lately, we have heard from many individuals with concerns over the location of the soon to be Dream Center, and new Buffalo Hotel. The Dream Center will be located at 4918- 50th ave, formerly the Lotus nightclub. The Buffalo will be relocating from its downtown location to 4124 Gaetz ave, formerly the Econo Lodge. These locations are a short walk apart.
What does this mean for Red Deer’s citizens and the business’s surrounding? We have decided to take a non-bias look into the issues by exploring both the pros and cons of each. We understand the concerns; however we also see the reasoning behind the decisions.
So why downtown? This is a question that has come up many times. Why put the Dream Center which is a 49 day in patient recovery center, in the middle of the downtown core when literally out their front door is nothing but temptation, including a strip club? Not to mention, individuals who are actively using substances at the Buffalo? It does sound a little counterproductive. However, we must remember this, the Dream Center will have 20-40 individuals off the street every 49 days for treatment. This is a significant number of individuals struggling with addiction who are able to enter treatment and get off the streets. We must also remember that there is temptation everywhere; this is something the individuals will address while in treatment and afterwards. That said, there will be undoubtedly an increased number of foot traffic around the center. Could this potentially hurt businesses? This is a question we feel is not easily answered yet. Until the Dream Center opens its doors, it simply is too early to tell the impact it will have on the surrounding area.
The Buffalo Hotel—the source of much conflict within the city. How is the new location going to pair with the citizens of Red Deer? Perhaps, being so close to the Dream Center will inspire more individuals to seek help? We do feel for the businesses around the new location, this type of foot traffic defers citizens from frequenting, largely due to safety concerns. We cannot help but point out the struggle this must be. However, we also understand the need for more beds to become available to this vulnerable population.
So, what is the solution? Maybe there simply isn’t one. We struggle to formulate a better location for these services as no matter where they are, you simply cannot please everyone. So we have decided to look on the bright side, and be proud of the fact that our city does so much to help people in need. We know there are going to be coming issues and conflicts, so as a city let’s band together and become involved in finding solutions instead of shaming the people involved. There are no easy answers to addressing the issues this city is facing with homelessness and drug addiction. So let’s hope that the Dream Center will be a beginning to more services and resources to start cleaning up our city!