New recovery community to be built near Edmonton

The Gunn recovery community will have a campus-style layout. The existing resident cabins and recreation hall will be renovated to support programming requirements, and a new dining centre will be constructed with a central kitchen and facility for resident laundry.

The government is making life better for Albertans with Budget 2022 by increasing access to recovery-oriented addiction treatment. A government-owned facility in Gunn will be renovated to suit the needs of the intensive addiction treatment model that will be offered at the new recovery community.

The Gunn facility transformation is expected to create more than 100 jobs when construction starts in 2022. Once completed, the 100-bed facility will employ approximately 100 Albertans and will have the capacity to offer treatment to 400 Albertans every year.

“Alberta’s government continues to increase access to recovery-oriented supports and services for people struggling with addiction and mental health challenges. We’re proud to be building recovery communities that will offer hope for recovery to a generation of Albertans. Recovery is possible for everyone and our goal is to also make recovery accessible to everyone.”

Mike Ellis, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

“Construction will soon be underway on the new Gunn recovery community. Using land already owned by the government is an excellent use of existing resources and demonstrates fiscal responsibility, all while furthering efforts to help Albertans recover from addiction.”

Prasad Panda, Minister of Infrastructure

The McCullough Centre was historically part of the social services system as a place to support homeless men. The centre has been vacant since February 2021. The ongoing addiction crisis requires that Alberta’s government repurpose the centre within the health-care system to support long-term intensive addiction treatment.

Recovery communities are a form of long-term residential treatment that focus on supporting people who are pursuing recovery. Recovery is seen as a gradual, ongoing process of cognitive change through clinical and peer interventions aimed at improving a person’s overall well-being.

Treatment at new recovery communities will be fully funded by Alberta’s government. Any Albertan seeking recovery can access the life-saving treatment services that will be provided.

The Gunn recovery community is part of a provincewide initiative to introduce a new type of intensive addiction treatment not previously provided by Alberta’s government. Alberta’s government is also building recovery communities in Red Deer and Lethbridge, and on the Blood Tribe First Nation. These recovery communities will be the first of their kind in Alberta.

“There is an epidemic that has not been fully addressed and has impacted our community for years, causing illness and deaths of loved ones. Simply put, it is the illness of addiction. A real solution is that of a recovery community, where people can truly reclaim their lives and rejoin society with a bright future. I look forward to the positive difference that the centre located here in God’s Country, Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, will make – not only to the folks who receive treatment but to our community as a whole, creating jobs and giving hope.”

Shane Getson, MLA for Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland

“Having treatment capacity in Gunn will make addiction treatment more accessible for people in rural Alberta west of Edmonton. I look forward to helping more people get on the path to healing by accessing this recovery community when construction is complete.”

Martin Long, MLA for West Yellowhead

“Building a comprehensive recovery-oriented system is essential to ensure better outcomes for those struggling with mental health and addiction. This additional treatment capacity expands the continuum of care available in the Edmonton region and makes support more accessible to those in need.”

Dale McFee, chief of police, Edmonton Police Service

“If we’re going to seriously address substance dependency, we need to continue increasing access to services. This includes everything from harm reduction to treatment and recovery services. Having additional treatment capacity so close to Edmonton will allow us to support more people in accessing long-term intensive addiction treatment.”

Jordan Reiniger, executive director, Boyle Street Community Services

Alberta’s government is helping Albertans access life-saving addiction and mental health-related prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery resources. This includes supporting the addition of more than 8,000 new publicly funded treatment spaces; the elimination of daily user fees for publicly funded residential addiction treatment; a new patient matching tool, Recovery Access Alberta; and services to reduce harm, such as the Digital Overdose Response System (DORS) app, the introduction of a nasal naloxone pilotexpansion of opioid agonist therapy and fully covering the cost of the injectable opioid treatment drug Sublocade.

Quick facts

  • Budget 2022 invests in addiction and mental health recovery. This includes:
    • $70 million to support a recovery-oriented system of care.
      • $50 million from the 2019 commitment of $140 million over four years.
      • $20 million in new, additional funding allocated in Budget 2022.
  • Including Alberta Health Services, the government spends approximately $1 billion on mental health and addictions programs, services and supports.
  • More than $53 million was allocated early in the pandemic to implement more online, phone and in-person mental health and addiction recovery supports to make it easier for Albertans to access services from anywhere in Alberta during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Albertans can call 211 Alberta or the Addiction Helpline for support, information and referral to services. Treatment can also start right away by calling the Virtual Opioid Dependency Program (VODP) seven days per week at 1-844-383-7688.