The new Portage teen drug and alcohol rehab facility relocated from the West Island to the Laurentians over the holidays.
Even though the view is breathtaking, Lac Echo, located an hours drive north of Montreal, is not where the teens and staff want to stay.
“We wanted to remain on the West Island.”
“Our roots were there, we had been there for 14 years, all our partners are there, the parents are there… so it’s been hard,” Seychelle Harding told Global News.
READ MORE: Portage Beaconsfield looking for new home
Teaming up with the government, Portage spent five years searching for a new spot on the West Island, to no avail.
Last month, they were forced to move out of their home in Beaconsfield, to make way for a new Batshaw facility for at-risk teens.
“It was small, it wasn’t modern or nice but it was their home, so they miss that but there’s no chance of returning to that location,” explained Harding.
Now, they’re sharing facilities with the French Portage adolescent and adult programs.
“It’s been stressful.”
“For both the community and the staff, a lot is going on, a lot of emotions,” said case-worker Stacey Jourdain.
They have even lost some of their employees who couldn’t make the drive up.
This is the same problem many parents have also been experiencing.
“We had our family support groups every Wednesday at the centre in the West Island,” Jourdain explained.
“So the kids got to cross paths with their parents at least once a week.”
“Now there’s sort of a disconnect.”
Sixteen-year-old Demetria spent the last six months in the rehab program, battling a drug and alcohol addiction.
“It was like a home.”
Although the new facility has more space, access to a lake and even more activities, she said it just doesn’t feel the same.
“Once you walk in you feel cosy, there’s a family vibe for anyone who walks in.”
Portage has opened an office in Pointe-Claire for admissions and after-care.
As for getting a treatment facility back in the West Island, they’re remaining optimistic — but not holding their breath.