Brandon Jansen and mom Michelle at the Powell River rehabilitation centre the day before he died of a fentanyl overdose in his room in March, 2016. Submitted photo Brandon Jansen and mom Michelle at the Powell River rehabilitation centre the day before he died of a fentanyl overdose in his room in March, 2016. Submitted photo

Penticton addiction recovery centre plan halted by neighbours

Recovery centre operator said neighbours bought property ‘in haste’

Michelle Jansen lost her son to an overdose, and now she feels she is losing the battle to help others dealing with drug addiction.

In November she told the Western News she was purchasing a property in the city to address a lack of appropriate care to help people work on their addiction recovery. She had envisioned hosting an open house at the property for the public in December. This week, she found out neighbours of the property she was planning to buy on Juniper Drive to create the treatment facility in her son’s name, the Brandon Jansen Memorial Recovery Centre, had squeezed in and bought it themselves.

Related: Penticton rehab centre to open in memory of son

“What is ironic is that clearly, the neighbours are unaware of all the issues that we had discovered and went and bought the property in haste to block a recovery centre from coming into their neighbourhood,” said Jansen. “I am welcoming this information to get out there because this a prime example of the stigma out there still in the public about addiction.”

Jansen said after finding a number of deficiencies in the million-dollar-plus property she went back to the sellers with her realtor asking for concessions. Ultimately, Jansen said, she decided to not move forward with the purchase and instead look elsewhere. At the same time, she said, her realtor informed her that the sellers collapsed the deal. Unbeknownst to her, it was to sell to the neighbours.

“Clearly these neighbours have not been hit with the opioid crisis within the inner circle, but the reality is such that it is coming and it will arrive on their doorstep. They haven’t derailed our plans. We are still going to open. Now we are delayed until February. We are just finalizing an alternate property. We have a waiting list for people requiring help and so what they have done is roadblocked these people from getting any help and, ultimately, the people on our waiting list today — a number of them will be dead by February,” said Jansen.

Related: Penticton treatment centre owner says she plans to raise the bar in care

Jansen said there is an ignorance surrounding addiction and that is adding to the problem. Addiction touches all genders, classes and races, and many addicts fear the shame and criticism that comes with having an addiction. She added there is no reason to be scared of an addiction centre in your neighbourhood. The property she wanted was to be gated, have security cameras and people would be supervised 24-7.

“We are not housing pedophiles. We are not treating pedophilia. We are not treating abusers of children. We are dealing with people who are addicted to drugs. These people are at no more of a risk to children than the average person,” she said about concerns she read the neighbours were worried about children living in the vicinity of the house if it became a recovery centre.

Jansen added that not one neighbour had reached out to her to ask questions or let her know of their concerns.

“I am so glad this is coming out in the media because people need to understand it is not ‘those people,’ it is not people on the Downtown Eastside, it is not homeless people down on the corner, this addiction does not discriminate. It is affecting everyone in all walks of life.”

She was also surprised to learn the neighbours had bought the property after she and her realtor Hardy Maier of Home Team Realty Group had decided not to buy it back on Nov. 18. They were unable to negotiate with the sellers after she said her inspectors had found a number of issues relating to the building that needed repair.

“These deficiencies are always negotiable and that’s where we were at, just trying to find a cost to repair but we walked away and decided to look for something else,” said Maier. “If the neighbours are that negative about the attributes of helping people in recovery in their city there’s not much we can do about it, it’s political.

“That’s a big outlay (neighbour’s purchase). We were at $1.4 million. I hope that they know what they bought, they could be into some issues. I mean, we didn’t get any written estimates but in my construction experience you could be looking at anywhere from 50 to 100 grand to repair it.”

Meanwhile, Jansen pleads that everyone should become educated on addiction.

“There has been so much information out there and there is so much information relative to this crisis out there that I am encouraging everyone in the general public to educate themselves and to do some research and not to put their blinders on because that is what is also leading to the number of deaths that are increasing every single day.”

As of the publication of this story, Juniper Drive neighbours who purchased the house that Jansen was scouting as a site for the treatment facility did not return phone call requests for an interview with the Western News.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com
.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tough year ahead for the aluminium industry

U.S. market is still Canada’s most important

Kitselas receive $1.2M boost for apprenticeship development program, open to Tsimshian and Haisla Nations

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education announces $7.5M for six Indigenous training programs

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into Northern Sentinel office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read