Future cloudy
Beaulieu elected president as NAS explores options

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 13/99) - The Northern Addiction Services board has met and elected a new president but the treatment centre's future is still uncertain.

After a board meeting Oct. 7, Darrell Beaulieu is the new board president and John Gilliland is the vice-president.

However, the board is still unsure if the Dettah Road facility will house the federal aboriginal offenders' treatment program that it has been vying for.

Until now, the likely alternative has been a youth treatment program that is advocated by the GNWT's Department of Health.

But according to executive director Norman Yakeleya, the youth treatment proposal is pretty much dead.

"He's not interested in having youth in the facility," Yakeleya said, referring to Health Minister Floyd Roland.

"(Officials at the Department of Health and Social Services) are not sure whether the facility is in their plans anymore."

Yakeleya said the NAS board is still looking at pursuing a program they submitted to Corrections Canada to house inmates from the south.

"We're open to have discussions with (Department of Health and Social Services officials) in terms of what kinds of programs they'd like to see at the Dettah facility," he said.

Yakeleya said he has received a letter from Roland but that the letter was not clear on what he wanted for the facility.

NAS board past- president, Earl Johnston, said the proposal to house federal inmates would only take up 20 of the facility's 28 beds.

That would leave room to house either families of the inmates or a program for survivors of residential school abuse.

"There's been a proposal put through to the aboriginal healing foundation and if that is approved in January then we could run a residential school program," Johnston said.

"That would fit in well with the Correctional Services Canada program because many of the inmates have gone to residential schools."

Yakeleya said the centre has received many requests for a residential school treatment program from former students.

The problem has been that money has not come through from any funding agencies.

"We have the program but the problem is the funding agencies aren't approving people to come here to be in the programs."

The funding agencies that Yakeleya was referring to are the regional health boards and branches of the Department of Health and Social Services.

As for NAS being behind in its mortgage payments, Johnston said the Housing Corporation has given them formal legal notice that if NAS does not come up with the money, the Housing Corporation will start legal proceedings.

"Once legal proceedings start that could take quite a while and we're hoping we'll have things sorted out by the time that occurs," Johnston said.