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Parksville approves rezoning for treatment centre

The move follows an emotional public hearing where many urged council to permit the 19-bed facility downtown, citing personal experiences with addiction
The facility is planned for a former seniors home at 188 McCarter St. that’s currently empty. VIA GOOGLE MAPS

Parksville council has moved ahead a rezoning application to allow a 19-bed addictions-treatment centre in its city core, despite concerns from some businesses.

Coun. Amit Gaur said Island Health, which sought the rezoning to allow the facility, has “done a very good job of clarifying what this about and how they are going to operate.”

Plans call for the centre to be staffed around the clock. The health authority has said the facility will sign a good neighbour agreement, a community advisory committee will be set up, and when someone completes the 90-day program, they will return to their home community. The program will be voluntary.

“I think and I’m really hopeful this will be successful in our community,” Gaur said.

While some might connect addictions with people living on the street, Gaur said many of those with substance-use issues are not visible in the community. “They are our neighbours, our friends, family members, co-workers.”

Participants in treatment programs have made a conscious decision to change and take control of their lives, Gaur said.

The facility is planned for a former seniors home at 188 McCarter St. that’s currently empty.

The majority of council voted in favour of third reading of the rezoning on Monday, although Coun. Adam Fras was opposed.

Council will vote on fourth and final reading at a date that has yet to be announced.

The vote follows an emotional public hearing on Nov. 22, where many pleaded with council to approve the rezoning.

Some recounted how they or family members battled addiction and only managed to overcome it by attending a treatment program, while others talked about their children dying from addiction.

Some businesses and others in the community, however, expressed concern about the potential for the facility to negatively affect revitalization efforts downtown.