Kamloops business owner pushing for addictions treatment in Rayleigh | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops business owner pushing for addictions treatment in Rayleigh

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June 13, 2021 - 8:30 AM

A car dealership owner is pushing for a new detox and treatment centre in Kamloops, but it doesn't appear likely.

Reid Hamer-Jackson owns TRU Market on West Victoria Street, across from the Emerald Centre, and has been growing frustrated with short-term housing solutions in Kamloops over the last few years. As he watches some of the same faces come around his West Victoria dealership and struggle to get into shelters, Hamer-Jackson wants to see a treatment facility in Rayleigh, at the site of the old correctional centre.

He's pushing for city officials and MLAs for more treatment options that can bring users away from the city centre and potential triggers, "instead of running people in and out of motels, hockey rink-turned-shelters or sticking them in sea cans at Mission Manor," Hamer-Jackson said.

The facility, as Hamer-Jackson proposes, would be modelled on the Vision Quest treatment centre near Logan Lake, where clients start a one-year abstinence-based program.

Hamer-Jackson doesn't work in the mental health sector. He doesn't have lived experience with drug use, and he doesn't have professional experience doing outreach work. But he may represent a growing desire among the Kamloops business community to see more long-term solutions offered in the Kamloops-area for individuals struggling with homelessness and drug use.

"We're not even close to that now," Kamloops City Councillor Bill Sarai said. "We have no resources or plans to develop that piece of land. It would need millions of dollars of infrastructure."

While he commends Hamer-Jackson for the work he does to lobby for more services, Sarai stresses that it's up to the province to get more services and housing built. The site in Rayleigh has never been seen by the City as a treatment centre location because no one from the provincial government, like B.C. Housing, has ever requested that site.

"We've sent out letters to three ministries to review our housing spectrum, but we haven't heard back from Victoria on any of our notices of motion," he said. "It's hard to lobby for it because we're not the experts."

The province is currently facing requests like this from across the province, and part of the solution may lie in $500 million dedicated to mental health and addictions treatment over the next three years.

Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar says his party plans to pressure the province to offer more of these solutions.

"The biggest piece is to have the provincial government offer those solutions, but it's not in the budget," he said. "There's a big societal cost to not get those treatments."

He doesn't believe Hamer-Jackson represents a growing impatience among the Kamloops business community, but says Hamer-Jackson has been "unfairly categorized" as uncaring and uncompassionate.

Meanwhile, the North Shore Business Improvement Association has spoken out about growing concerns of crime in the area after a break-in at Jamaican Kitchen. The association's statement claimed, "Our streets are not safe," and added that a total of $168,000 in damages had been accrued among the businesses they represent in the first quarter of 2021.

"Not everybody's the same. I'm not saying Vision Quest or Round Lake for everybody, but what's the harm in trying?" Sarai said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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