Recovery home set to open despite neighbours’ protests

Turning Point Recovery Society is making a second attempt to open an addictions recovery house after neighbourhood opposition forced it to abandon plans on Ash Street.

The city has granted an 18-month lease to Turning Point for a women’s support recovery centre in a single-family home at 10191 No. 2 Rd., near London-Steveston Secondary. The facility will house up to 10 women and does not require public rezoning approval.

Kritesh Dewan has lived across from the Steveston home since 1999, and said the process hasn’t been transparent, noting few residents in the area were notified of Turning Point’s expected presence.

“It seems to me the city is not thinking of the best interests of the neighbourhood,” he said.

Dewan said his neighbours have collected between 100 and 200 signatures opposing the recovery home, noting there are fears of crime and declining property values.

He said city officials haven’t communicated what potential impacts the recovery home could have on the neighbourhood.

“Without them being able to answer simple basic questions, why is this being approved?”

City spokesperson Ted Townsend said 30 households were informed and invited to a meeting, where residents were provided information and a chance to offer opinions that have since been forwarded to city council and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, which is the licensing authority.

Townsend said fear is typical in neighbourhoods slated for a recovery home, but noted history has shown that crime and dropping property values don’t materialize.

“The reality is those fears are unfounded. These types of facilities don’t create problems in neighbourhoods,” he said.

Townsend said there is a need for the facility in Richmond, which has substance abuse problems as any other city does, and the proposed recovery centre helps Richmond fulfill its objective of providing a complete continuum of care.

“They’re most effective when they’re in the community and people are able to receive the treatment that they need within their own community,” he said.

The city bought the 22-year-old house in 2009 for $690,000, and spent $33,000 on repair and closing costs. Turning Point will pay the city $2,200 per month under the lease agreement.

In 2007, Turning Point proposed a 40-bed recovery centre—later downsized to 32 beds—at 8180 Ash St. before the neighbourhood vociferously fought to quash it. As many as 17,000 names were collected for a petition against that project.

Turning Point currently operates a nine-bed addictions recovery home for men on Odlin Road.

Group homes with up to six beds don’t require rezoning or neighbourhood notification, according to city rules developed by a task force a decade ago. Proposals for seven to 10 beds also don’t require rezoning, but city officials are required to notify neighbours within a five-house radius. A facility over 10 beds requires rezoning with a full public hearing process.

Richmond has approximately 30 group homes, including Horizon House, a group home for people with mental illness that opened in 2008.

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