Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)

Remote B.C. addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

A proposed 60-bed addiction treatment facility on a remote lake near Vanderhoof is getting a second hearing, with a letter of support from B.C.’s deputy agriculture minister after pleas about the deadly impact of opioid drugs on the local Indigenous community.

Carrier Sekani Family Services proposes to buy and convert a fishing lodge on Tatchick Lake to a culturally sensitive healing retreat, replacing 40-year-old lakeshore cabins with a retreat and parking area using a small portion of the land that has never been used for farming. After the Agricultural Land Commission rejected the non-farm use application in February, Carrier Sekani leaders spoke out about the need.

“People are dying every day because of the opioid crisis, and in our community we’ve have three or four deaths over the last year and we desperately need this facility to happen,” Saik’uz First Nation Chief Priscilla Meuller said in March.

B.C. Liberal MLA Mike de Jong questioned Agriculture Minister Lana Popham at length last week about the ministry’s efforts to see the project through. He submitted an April 12 letter from the deputy agriculture minister to Carrier Sekani Family Services, indicating support for the project.

RELATED: Addiction treatment facility proposed at Tatchick Lake

RELATED: Treatment facility rejected because it’s on agricultural land

RELATED: Parksville council wants ‘dry housing’ on farmland

Popham said she was not told the letter was being sent, and cited cabinet confidentiality about another ministry letter to Mueller, indicating that a cabinet order was being prepared to overrule the land commission. “We were pursuing options, looking at what could be done, and information was being prepared for consideration,” Popham told the B.C. legislature June 3.

The Carrier Sekani agency has applied again, with the deputy minister’s letter included in a package sent to the regional district government, which is now required to present applications under the NDP government’s changes that prevent farmers from applying directly. Popham rejected de Jong’s argument that the ministry’s actions were interfering.

“He insinuated that there has been interference in the application around the Carrier-Sekani, and I would like to state on the record that I categorically disagree,” Popham said. “There has been no interference.”

Popham’s overhaul of the land commission and non-farm uses has led to controversies over restrictions on secondary homes on farmland, operation of a farm-to-table restaurant and an Abbotsford farmhouse converted to an addiction recovery house for women, which was allowed to continue after the operating society was told to move because it is a non-farm use.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Agricultural Land ReserveBC politics

Just Posted

Colin Davidson won $100K on a Set for Life scratch ticket in Sooke. (BCLC photo)
Sooke man does ‘happy dance’ after scratching a $100,000 Set for Life win

Colin Davidson plans to renovate his home and invest in his daughter’s education

Law Enforcement Torch Run in support of Special Olympics B.C. kicks off with a run at Swan Lake on June 6. The virtual fundraiser runs until June 20. (Saanich Police/Twitter)
Torch run seeks to scorch previous fundraiser, targets $75,000 for Special Olympics

Global movement shoots for 40,000 km in honour of the 40th anniversary

West Shore RCMP K9 Halla. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sound of RCMP dog enough to stop suspects in Oak Bay

West Shore RCMP K9 unit called in, didn’t get to chase

Improving safety at Keating Cross Road and the Pat Bay Highway is the goal of the flyover project currently in the works. The province aims to reveal the final cost and design this fall. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Final budget, design of Keating flyover in Central Saanich still in the works

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure says information coming by this fall

UVic Department of Anthropology chair and professor, April Nowell, at home with a copy of her new book, Growing Up In the Ice Age. (Courtesy of April Nowell)
New book by University of Victoria professor explores lives of Ice Age children

April Nowell spent two decades researching archaeological evidence of children, teens

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Dr. Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras contained high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read