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Valley View Centre closure to follow report

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Article: Rikkeal Bohmann – News Editor

The critical centre is closing its doors in 2016

Valley View Centre in Moose Jaw has been slated to close in 2016. The Saskatchewan Government announced this on Feb. 24, 2012. Now, over a year and a half later, there are still mixed opinions on the closure.

The centre is a 24-hour care facility for people who have intellectual disabilities. The institution was built in 1955 to fit 1,500 people. Valley View currently has about 200 residents, and stopped admitting new residents in 2002. The average age of residents is just under 59. Four out of every five residents is above 50 year old.

The Saskatchewan Government notes in an Aug. 2013 press release, that “now, the centre is one of the few remaining institutions of its kind in Canada, as best practices internationally have moved to community-based care.”

The building has also been cited as deteriorating.

This past August, the Saskatchewan government said it would be accepting all 14 recommendations following a report done on how to help with the transitioning of the residents into community-based services. Social Services Minister June Draude made this announcement in Moose Jaw. She also announced that the government would be spending $1.2 million to build a transition house that would house five residents. The original media release from Aug. 2012 had stated that new services would be phased out over four years. So far, no other plans have been given for the other remaining residents.

This sign will mean exactly nothing in as little as two years /source: The Moose Jaw Times Herald
This sign will mean exactly nothing in as little as two years /source: The Moose Jaw Times Herald

A Transition Steering Committee, whose goal was to research the best practices and to create a plan for how to move forward in the transition, did the report. This committee was made up of the Saskatchewan Association for Community Living, the Valley View Centre Family Group and officials from the Ministry of Social Services.

The final report was given to the Government of Saskatchewan in May of this year. The 14 recommendations it made were to help create a successful transition.

Laurie Larson, President of the Canadian Association for Community Living (CACL), was positive about the government accepting the recommendations, as she said in an Aug. 2013 statement, “if all recommendations are followed it will help ensure that the individuals can be supported with dignity and respect and lead to a truly inclusive life in community.”

The CACL originally welcomed the announcement of the closure of Valley View and has been advocating for the closure of the facility for decades.

Many families are disgruntled by the closure of the facility, though, and are worried about what this could mean for family members, who for a long time have made Valley View their home.

Draude hopes to calm these fears with the report as she explained to CBC, “maybe this report is still not going to give the final feeling of ‘OK, it’s going to be all right,’ but as we present our report back to the committee and to the families, I think they’ll then understand that this is what’s going to be happening.”

The average time for a resident to stay at Valley View Centre is about 40 years.

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