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

Aimed at success – the launch hit the target

Prince Rupert teen Brendan Eshom launches educational software app that hits Apple’s “Top Charts”

Getting a head for cancer research

Prince Rupert Cops for Cancer want to flush away the illness with loads of donations for research

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Baby raccoon rescued from 10-foot deep drainage pipe on Vancouver Island

‘Its cries were loud, pitiful and heartbreaking,’ Saanich animal control officer says

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Most Read