Barrie to provide $400,000 interest free loan toward women’s addiction recovery facility

Cornerstone to Recovery would fund the centre through collection of clothing and other textiles

Barrie City Council general committee has approved an interest free loan of $400,000 to Cornerstone to Recovery to renovate a building to operate a women’s addiction treatment centre.

The location has not been disclosed.

The loan would be secured against the building and be repaid in equal installments beginning in 2021, over a 20 year period. Cornerstone must pursue other funding opportunities and repay the outstanding loan to the City if the funding is secured.

The organization has managed a treatment centre in York Region for the last 18 years. Funding the facility has come through the collection of clothing and other textiles using public collection bins.

The same method would be used to fund the Barrie site.

Councillor Ann-Marie Kungl got an amendment to the motion approved at Monday’s meeting to include curbside textile collection as part of the initiative.

Barrie launched a one-year curbside collection program in September 2020, with a three cycle collection period that recovered between 14 and 16 tonnes of textiles during each cycle.

The City and Cornerstone would enter into a sole-source two-year agreement, with an option to renew for an additional two years.

Councillor Kungl also got support for her call that metrics be presented before there is a renewal which shows whether the diversion rate of textiles from the landfill as a result of curbside collection and the method used by Cornerstone is working.

“The issue here is whether or not we’re content in two years,” said Mayor Jeff Lehman. “I guess to continue to have that arrangement with only one organization.”

Cornerstone would place clothing bins at City facilities or at mutually agreed upon locations on public property.

The recovery treatment centre was first floated in March.

At the time, Councillor Natalie Harris said Cornerstone had received or has a commitment to receive $1.5 million toward the $2 million build. She said Cornerstone estimated 2.5 million pounds of textiles and household items would be diverted from going into the City landfill and save taxpayers about $170,000 a year.

The bins have sensors built-in which let collectors know when its time to empty them.

City staff is expected to provide council with a recommendation regarding a curbside collection program by the end of the year.