The purchase of 500 Queen Street East, home to the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centre, was funded by a sitting city councilor
A downtown business owner who strongly criticized a nearby drug treatment clinic is now its new owner after buying the building on the corner of Queen and Spring streets earlier this year.
Marnie Stone, owner of Stone’s Office Supply on nearby Queen Street, was among downtown business owners who raised concerns about the clientele and location of the Ontario Addiction Treatment Center in director at the time. Queenstown business improvement area ahead of a January 2016 meeting of its board of directors.
At the time, board members were told that she wanted a survey to be conducted to gather feedback on the clinic.
“I think it sends the wrong message and the wrong vibe to what we’re trying to create downtown,” Stone told Northern Hoot in a 2015 article on the OATC clinical.
Public cadastral documents retrieved by SooToday show almost exactly six years after that board meeting, Stone’s company purchased the building and is now the new owner of OATC.
Stone Age Holdings purchased the building for $295,000. The previous owner, 1276154 Ontario Ltd., purchased the property in 2003 for $145,000 and in 2014 leased the main unit to Canadian Addiction Treatment Clinic Holdings Ltd.
Contacted by email on Monday, Stone declined to comment for this story, citing illness and said she was not ready to reveal plans for the building’s second floor.
The lender for the 2022 transaction is listed in the documents as Sandra HollingsworthCouncilman for Ward 1. According to records, Hollingsworth loaned Stone’s company the full amount of the purchase price – $295,000 – at prime interest plus 1%. The monthly payment is $4,000.
Hollingsworth also publicly expressed concerns about the methadone treatment facilities located in the city’s downtown core.
Reached via email on Monday and asked what was the thinking behind lending money to purchase a building with a tenant she came out against, Hollingsworth said: “I believe it is important to help the artistic community which Marnie has been a great community leader and advocate.”
She added, “I am in the planning stages to support the new residential setback management program.”
“As for the lender,” said Hollingsworth. “This is private and I don’t know what you are referring to.”
At a city council meeting in 2016, Hollingsworth was talking about methadone clinics when she expressed concern about the installation of “methadone labs” in the city center. At the time, she represented Ward 2, which included part of the city’s downtown.
“To advise Hollingsworththere are no meth labs downtown,” said Mayor Christian Provence told him at the time. Hollingsworth apologized and corrected herself.
The sale in January 2022 of the building to Stone Age Holdings Inc. is news from Kate Johnston, Director of Clinical Services at the Canadian Addiction Treatment Centres, which operates the OATC clinical.
Johnson said SooToday plans of the building by the new owner were not shared with OATC.
“I think it’s a well-known fact that downtown businesses would rather we weren’t there and I’ve personally spent time setting up meetings and talking with local businesses about things we can do. to alleviate the things that frustrate them,” Johnston said. “If for some reason we could no longer continue to operate there, we would absolutely try to find new excavations because we have a lot of patients there who we would not want to leave without care.”
The clinic operates on the first floor and basement of the old bank building at 500 Queen Street E.
“We actually recently invested quite a bit of money in a refresh and renovation of our clinic and our pharmacy,” Johnston said. “We probably wouldn’t have done this if we thought we might not be in this space.”
The clinic is also adding a fourth doctor to treat clients in the building’s clinic space starting this week.
“The fentanyl epidemic is something most people in Ontario and Canada are familiar with and unfortunately the treatment landscape is growing,” Johnston said. “It was a prescription opioid crisis, you remember the oxy epidemic, but unfortunately fentanyl changed it and made it a more serious process.
The clinic focuses on a harm reduction model and doctors prescribe and dispense three main medications to treat opioid use disorders, including methadone. The clinic also screens and treats patients for hepatitis B and HIV.
Peter and Hollingsworth are founding members of 100+ Women Who Care Sault Ste. Marie, who to date has raised $235,489 for local charities and nonprofits, according to her website.