Given recent media coverage around the Lookout site selection and issues raised in regards to the proposed site being unsuitable, the Western Region Alcohol and other Drugs organisation (WRAD) makes the following points:
• WRAD investigated 10 sites while exploring the options for a home for The Lookout. These included:
– The old ‘Gasworks’ site in Merri Street
– Sam’s Warehouse also in Merri Street
– The former site of the Criterion Hotel in Kepler Street (now vacant)
– Vacant land owned by WRAD in Kepler Street
– Atkinson’s Lane in Dennington
– The Gallery Night Club site
– Country Life, opposite Deakin University
– Deakin University Warrnambool Campus
In addition, we approached Warrnambool City Council with a request to nominate suitable sites within their existing property portfolio. None was deemed to be suitable.
• After considering planning issues, land size, capital spend and budget (including renovations and maintenance costs), Atkinson’s Lane in Dennington was found to be by far the most suitable site.
• Other considerations lending support to this site included its general suitability for therapeutic activities (such as gardening, etc.) proximity to relevant services in Warrnambool, including mental health, family services and WRAD’s full suite of services and proximity to the broader support of the community.
• WRAD is still fundraising for ‘The Lookout’. All funds raised or pledged to date have been reserved in a separate account and will be applied to the building of the accommodation facilities.
• Funding for services will come from the State Government.
• ‘The Lookout’ management plan, which details the operational model based on best practice, has been available on the Lookout website, https://www.thelookoutrehab.com.au, since May 2018.
• WRAD Director Geoff Soma has many years’ experience in residential rehabilitation, including 16 years managing and operating this type of facility. “I have witnessed that they are safe and effective and that they save lives.”
• WRAD is grateful to those many individuals and organisations who have supported the development of the Lookout project to date.