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

Langley Lake supplies the drinking water for Union Bay. File photo by Bob Ell
Comox Valley board wants to halt Union Bay-area logging plans

Regional district inviting forest company to work on watershed plan

Corwin Fox performs on the grounds of the Courtenay and District Fish & Game Club for a 2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest segment, with the iconic Comox Glacier in the background. The 2021 festival will feature numerous outdoor segments, highlighting the beauty of the Comox Valley. Photo via Island MusicFest
2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest format will showcase the beauty of the Comox Valley

The 2021 Vancouver Island MusicFest -The Virtual Edition - will be like… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox takes step closer to finalizing Northeast Comox Storm Water Management Plan

“(This has been a) tremendous work in progress for many years”

John Marinus’s daughter, Margaret McCormack, and his wife Denise were out Saturday afternoon to help the Rotary Club of Comox move some tickets for the upcoming Ducky 500, known this year as the John Marinus Memorial Ducky 500. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Rotary Club of Comox Ducky Run tickets still available

Event has been rechristened as the John Marinus Memorial Ducky 500

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read