Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Judy Darcy announces $4.7 million in funding to Our Place Society’s Therapeutic Recovery Community, a recovery-based program tentatively slated for the former youth custody centre in View Royal. Arnold Lim/BLACK PRESS

Province announces $4.7-million addictions recovery program in View Royal

View Royal mayor says plan to use former youth custody centre not a done deal

The province of B.C. made a splashy announcement, declaring $4.7-million in funding to an addictions treatment program to be based in View Royal, but Mayor David Screech says the project has yet to be approved by the municipality.

The Therapeutic Recovery Community program is slated to be run by Our Place at the former youth custody centre at 94 Talcott Road.

Minister of of Mental Health and Addictions, Judy Darcy made the announcement Monday, explaining the society would run the addictions programming for up to 50 men, for a period of one to two years each.

“We must keep doing more to stop overdoses but we also must keep doing more than stop overdoses,” Darcy said, adding the key to assisting those living with addiction is access to holistic support.

“That is why our government is taking urgent action now to expand the number of treatment options available for people living with addictions,” she added.

As part of the program, residents would come to the peer-led program through the court system or following a detox program, and would stay at the facility for a two-year period, where they would focus on sobriety and recovering from their addictions.

There will be no drug and alcohol use allowed on the property and individuals will not be free to come and go as they wish.

In the end, the hope is that every individual who graduates from the program will be in control of their addiction, have a place to live, a job and the life skills necessary to live in the wider community.

Don Evans, executive director of Our Place called the program “life-changing.”

“This is an opportunity to not only transform the lives of individuals, but to also transform our community,” he said.

The municipality of View Royal however, hasn’t yet signed off on the deal.

Screech said the bylaw still requires first and second reading, as well as a public hearing. Considering the way the Choices Transitional Shelter was “thrust” upon his municipality, he said he was disappointed with the way the province handled Tuesday’s announcement.

Screech said he would have appreciated a heads up, something he did not receive from the province.

“I have been very supportive of Our Place and I still am,” he explained. “I think the funding is wonderful. But, it’s all about public process when we are dealing with a neighbourhood – and we could have done a better job with that.”

The facility, also supported by BC Housing – to the tune of $300,000 in funding – is expected to start renovations as early as this summer, in order to open in the fall. Our Place will lease the property from BC Housing, who will also cover the property taxes for up to three years.

Screech said the announcement “trumped” community consultation for the community of View Royal and they have yet to approve zoning.

“When the minister gets up and says that this is happening, I think it is hard for a local resident to think that their voice and their concerns, are going to have a lot of merit,” Screech said.

“I wish this announcement had been delayed until View Royal Council had formally approved.”