Emotional pleas for Penticton rehab facility - InfoNews

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Emotional pleas for Penticton rehab facility

A bylaw to allow an addicton recovery facility at 633 Winnipeg St. was given first and second reading by Penticton city council yesterday, Oct. 18, 2016.
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October 19, 2016 - 6:30 PM

PENTICTON - A passionate contingent showed up at Penticton city hall to ensure council would allow a drug and alcohol recovery house on Winnipeg Street.

The gallery was full for a public hearing yesterday, Oct. 18, on a zoning amendment to allow for congregate housing at 633 Winnipeg St. which council sent back to city staff for some changes.

The amendment would allow the Penticton Recovery Resource Society to expand their men’s supportive living recovery program from its present Warren Avenue five bed facility, known as Discovery House, to an 11 bed recovery house on Winnipeg Street.

The address contains a duplex that currently does not allow congregate housing, although the building had previous use as a seniors care residence, and bed and breakfast.

Recovery Resource society executive director Jerome Abraham said the society had searched the city for a property and saw the Winnipeg location as the “perfect venue” for its second stage supportive recovery home. He said the city had a “huge need” for the facility.

Thirty residents expressed their opinions during the hearing, which lasted a little more than two hours. A few residents expressed their opposition to the rezoning itself, expressing concerns about undesirable operations possibly occupying the site in the future due to the broad scope of the congregate housing designation.

Others, citing experiences in Surrey, were concerned the city had inadequate guidelines regarding the location of recovery houses in the city.

Most of those offering an opinion, however, were passionate in their belief the expansion of the recovery house was a positive move for the city.

Several past clients of Discovery House, exhibiting strong emotion, praised the operation for saving their lives, while others noted the need in Penticton for such a facility.

“We need more beds. People are dying trying to get into the (Discovery) house,” Anthony Brown said.

Council agreed to work on wording of the bylaw to include a covenant that would take care of future uses for the property under the bylaw, giving it second reading to allow staff time to make the requested changes.

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