January 18th, 2021

Internal ARCHES report indicates dysfunctional workplace setting

By Lethbridge Herald on July 8, 2020.

An internal report on ARCHES, which operates the Supervised Consumption Site, paints a picture of a dysfunctional workplace setting. Herald file photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Tim Kalinowski
Lethbridge Herald
A copy of an internal report on ARCHES from local consultant Collaborative Strategies Business Consulting and Empowerment Solutions, and obtained on Wednesday by The Herald in the wake of a provincial government audit of the organization announced earlier this year, paints a picture of a dysfunctional workplace setting, with some employees feeling the atmosphere is “toxic” and “unhealthy,” and some managers feeling like they are “constantly drowning” due to a general lack of direction in the organization.
The report also states several employees at ARCHES were being paid to work in positions they were simply not qualified for.
The report, written by Collaborative Strategies owner and consultant Mandy DeCecco-Kolebaba, states many of the problems at ARCHES stem the organization’s informal hiring practices
“There is a level of incompetence in many areas,” states DeCecco-Kolebaba, “most likely because the hiring practices have been so informal. Not one person has been hired appropriately. There is a grooming culture here that is alarming and means that not many of the current staff are in roles that fit their skills.”
ARCHES board chair Aaron Fitchett and consultant DeCecco-Kolebaba stress the report was intended to be a confidential email to a government official and captures only a moment in time early in the assessment process. They point to large organizational changes which have been enacted in recent months to address the concerns DeCecco-Kolebaba gleaned from speaking to at length to 28 individual ARCHES employees in her initial assessments.
“Things are really going well here in the last five weeks,” said DeCecco-Kolebaba. “A lot of those concerns mentioned have been addressed. We are making changes on a daily basis. Although that report seems really negative, that’s just a snapshot and was meant for government officials to see how far we have come.”
See the full story in Wednesday’s Lethbridge Herald.
Follow @TimKalHerald on Twitter

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Citi Zen

Let’s see what kind of fairy tales the Mayor and Council uses now to keep supporting this place. Time to use some common sense.

Dennis Bremner

The issue is now, ARCHES wants to keep the cash cow going. Council now realizes through the Turner report there total ignorance of what they were doing resulted in all the outlier communities dumping their addicts here. Turner calls it Migration in her report. But we did not just win addicts we won people with mental health issues as well. So it will now be very interesting as the blame game begins in preperation for the 2021 election.
Any comment like “we had no choice” is false is a lie and should be assumed that the councillor uttering it is attempting to try to negate his/her involvement in this City Killing Fiasco.
Because outlier communities will continue to dump their addicts here you can see, they are forcing Lethbridge into fulfilling Spearman’s STUPID comment that perhaps we may be the southern Alberta Rehab. As soon as you utter something this STUPID, you are passing tacit approval for the dumping to continue. So the next 3 years is set, Spearman/Council Phillips/Fitzpatrick Bourgue and Manning have now started the downward spiral that NO CITY wants to experience!


Many businesses have failed due to this SCS. Many could have made it through the COVID crisis but had already suffered major losses due to the impacts of the SCS. For the past 2 years we have watched neighbourhoods pillaged, parks littered with needles, and Galt Gardens taken hostage by the addicts after years of trying to revitalize downtown . . . all gone in just a couple of years!

ARCHES/SCS alone cost the taxpayer over $7 million annually just for it’s operation and the SCS should never have been combined with 17 other services! This lead to information being released as to the numbers of users of the site that misled the public into believing that there were up to 750 different people using the monitored safe comsumption area of the site, not accounting for the ones who never consumed any drugs or that were the same person coming in multiple times in one day.

The average of about 570 per day was still inflated. There were no safeguards to prevent underage use, with 16 year olds able to use drugs at the site and I am aware of female ‘pregnant’ addicts whe were allowed to continue using the site even though they were visibliy pregnant, almost to term, the last time I saw each of them enter.

Many of us tried to get investigations, to wake up all levels of government, but it was like we didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was enabling all of the users, while we all watched them slowly emaciate and many that we saw around, over 30, after 2 years are dead, many died from addiction related diseases, homeless related diseases and even suicide, which is high in addicts!

These sites do not save as many lives as they say! They generate more addicts who get the idea it is okay to do drugs because they are supplying all the paraphernalia, snacks, rooms with music and a social atmospere that many do not usually have, attracting them to the site. Many alcoholics are attracted to bars for the social aspect, and this SCS attracts people in the same manner.

This site should have opened and operated completely on it’s own, no other organizations combined with it, except counselling services, and should have been under the complete oversight of the AHS with full authority to act on any issue.

As it stands, this SCS didn’t appear to answer to anyone! The City said not us, it was the Alberta Government. The Alberta Goverment said, “it is a ‘unique’ entity and we do not have authority” when attempts were made to file complaints. And Health Canada who license’s them to operate under a Exemption, stated that complaints needed to be filed to the Alberta Government!

Meanwhile more people die, more money is ‘burned up’, and more addicts are attracted to the site while our city becomes infamous for being the busiest consumption site in the world . . . but we were not, the figures were inflated due to all the other services in the complex. The actual figures to the monitored ‘consumption’ part of the site are much lower, when you account for the same people using the site multiple times in one day and those just using the other services of this facility.

This city has suffered major losses financially and have not seen any positive results from this site other than disinformation, misinformation and a complete disregard for the business community downtown and in nearby Northside, that were also impacted.

The site was forced on us without fair debate and once here, it was like we were in a communist country, not a democratic society like Canada used to be, when we tried to get it shut down.

Here is what it did! Devasted the business community downtown, gave away a great venue and park downtown to the addicts, increased crime so the addicts could buy drugs, increased prostitution downtown on our streets even around our downtown library to support theirdrug addiction, made drugs more readily available on the streets due to the increased business from the users of the site therefore spreading into the rest of the communites and addicting more, increased policing and EMS budgets, brought CODE REDS to EMS so those with loved ones that need tramsport the hospital for strokes, heart attacks, asthma attacks had to wait for ambulances because they were all tied up with overdoses (after the SCS opened), increased other social and housing services that have costs millions (even though some of the funds are shared among governments) and all to watch a continued rise in fatal overdoses, increased homeless and addicts numbers,increased crime and increased negative impacts to businesses and neighbourhoods . . . all the same as the failed BC sites have been proven to fail and still fail after 17 years of being open,
REMINDER – – Greater Vancouver DTES is about 20,000 people, where the first safe injection site opened in 2003. They have over 300 social and housing services in place to support all the addicts,costing over $360 million annually . . . yet everything continues to increase every year: the fatal overdoses, the number of addicts, the crime, the number of homeless . . . it isn’t working! More people die now from the homeless/addiction related diseases and suicide than the fatal overdoses would ever cause!

Wake up people . . . effective treatment is the only answer and a fracture of the costs.
Remember that when all your tax money goes to these sites and all the social services and programs they need to support them, when you are waiting for you surgery or your ambulance that is delayed because of overdoses or all the other services that have been cut to pay for this money pit!

Seth Anthony

Further to a s–thole of a city that this site is creating, they’re also being investigated for fraud and embezzlement. Apparently the whistleblower was an employee that was privy to their financials.

EDIT- An even more fundamental cause of the madness than the SCS, is the spineless municipal leaders that allow the destruction of the city and the victimization of its citizens to continue unabated. Honorable leaders admit their errors and take action to correct them. Most of our municipal “leaders” bury their heads in the sand due to ego and cowardice.