http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/loca ... ubsection=
'We're talking about drug addicts living next door to our children'
By LIN FERGUSON
NEIGHBOURS of a planned church-based rehabilitation centre for male alcoholics and drug addicts are worried and frightened for their children's safety.
The Papaiti Rd residents living either side of the former Holly Lodge winery, where the centre is planned, say an addiction centre should not be set up in a community where there are families with young children.
Leanne and Terry Cox said on Friday they were horrified to learn that the centre had been granted resource consent already, with some building restrictions attached.
The couple said the property owner, John Vermuelen, had asked them to sign in favour of his resource consent application for the addiction centre a few weeks ago.
"But there was no way we were giving our consent. When we wouldn't sign, he [Vermuelen] said he would get it anyway and he has." "How can that be? Don't we have any rights as his closest neighbours? Don't we get a say?" Mr Cox said.
Roger and Charlene Miller, who live on the other side of Vermuelen's property, said they were very unhappy about an addiction centre being built next door.
"We're out in the country. It's lovely and quiet. This area is mainly families with small children. It's just wrong to have it here. We should have been consulted by the council at the very least." "We're entitled to have a say, surely. I mean we're not talking about a nice boarding house with guests. We're talking about drug addicts and alcoholics living next door to our children," Mr Miller said.
A letter detailing plans for the Holly Lodge Recovery Centre was given to the neighbours by Mr Vermuelen a few weeks ago, saying the centre would take up to nine "motivated" clients at any one time.
"They will be wanting to overcome any addiction habits that may be causing problems for them." "We will not be taking in court-ordered clients or anyone having violence convictions. We will have a police check done before accepting them," the letter says.
While in residence, the clients will go for supervised walks along the riverside toward the country, the letter also said.
"... they will be having saunas and swimming (both in the facility on the property)."
The clients will be on high doses of vitamins and minerals and be on a health-food diet, along with specialist therapy and counselling sessions, the letter says.
The centre's rehabilitation programme follows Scientology's Narconon programme, established by church founder L Ron Hubbard more than 40 years ago.
The initial centre application to the Wanganui District Council had also included a small animal farm being set up. But the animal farm part of it was turned down by the council, Mr Miller said.
"But they [the council] agreed to the addiction centre. I find that very confusing."
Councillor Ray Stevens said he had spoken to some of the Papaitai Rd residents and would be calling a public meeting of all concerned residents this week .
"We need to get this out into the open and talk about it," he said.
Mr Vermeulen defended the centre, and said the neighbours' fears were unfounded.
"They're really talking about people who are within the wider community already and there is a contracted agreement that alcohol and drugs aren't on the premises," he said.
"There's not going to be people here who don't want to change."
Staff members would be on hand to ensure the patients kept to the agreement.
Mr Vermeulen was surprised to learn of his neighbours' fears, and said he thought he had a good relationship with them.
"It's a country rural atmosphere and they won't be, in any way, interfering with the neighbours. We're friendly with the neighbours and we have not had any issues with them."
NZ anons & critics, please see Dave Touretzky's websites...
I think there is an excellent PDF information pack on there (can't find the link at the moment) which could help local residents a helluva lot if they are to be meeting with the local council.