Cheslatta Carrier Nation chief Corinna Leween speaks to the annual B.C. Natural Resources Forum, Jan. 27, 2021. Leween is president of Carrier Sekani Family Services, a delegated agency of the B.C. government serving northern B.C. communities. (B.C. Natural Resources Forum)

Cheslatta Carrier Nation chief Corinna Leween speaks to the annual B.C. Natural Resources Forum, Jan. 27, 2021. Leween is president of Carrier Sekani Family Services, a delegated agency of the B.C. government serving northern B.C. communities. (B.C. Natural Resources Forum)

B.C. addiction treatment centre rejected because it’s on ‘agricultural’ land

Remote fishing lodge on Tachick Lake has never been farmed

The B.C. NDP government’s rigid farmland regulations have blocked a proposal by a northern Indigenous community to open a 60-bed culturally appropriate addiction treatment centre.

Carrier Sekani Family Services has offered to buy a remote fishing resort on Tachick Lake near Vanderhoof in July 2020, to fulfill its goal of creating a lakeside healing and treatment facility. Cheslatta Carrier Nation elected chief Corrina Leween, president of the regional tribal council’s family service agency, blasted the decision in a letter to Agriculture Minister Lana Popham, Indigenous Relations Minister Murray Rankin and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Sheila Malcolmson that was taken up by the opposition in the B.C. legislature this week.

Leween noted that the lakeside property has been used for a fishing lodge since the 1950s, and the remote land has never been farmed. The proposed healing centre has the support of the First Nations Health Authority and Indigenous Services Canada, the federal agency responsible for reserves. Tachick Lake Resort continues to take bookings for this year as the pending sale is considered.

“The decision fails to uphold your government’s commitments to address the opioid crisis on an urgent basis, to close the systemic gaps in medical and health services for First Nations people in the north, to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, and to honour the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Leween wrote.

It’s not the first time Popham’s crackdown on non-farm uses in B.C.’s Agricultural Land Reserve has disrupted a treatment facility. In 2019, the Agricultural Land Commission informed the Abbotsford Women’s Centre that it has two years to move, because the large residence used to house up to 10 women in an intensive substance abuse rehab program is also on farmland.

Malcolmson said Monday she met with Leween March 9 to confirm the province will fund such a treatment facility, but the ALC is an independent body with a mandate to protect viable farmland.

RELATED: Farmland rules force women’s treatment centre to move

RELATED: B.C. cuts fees, not red tape for farm home construction

“This is not an NDP government decision,” Malcolmson told the B.C. legislature March 15. “I’m working with my counterparts in cabinet. I’ve given my commitment to Chief Corrina Leween that we will pursue this further. Our investment in Carrier Sekani Family Services remains. We are reliant on them as a deliverer of services right now all across B.C.’s northwest.”

Ellis Ross, the former Haisla Nation chief and now the B.C. Liberal MLA for Skeena, said Leween’s letter makes it clear she isn’t interested in the many departments of government doing more consultation. He noted that the record deaths from the opioid overdose crisis is affecting Indigenous people more than the general population.

“She wants to see the talking end,” Ross said. “She wants to see ministers stop referring to their briefing sheets. She wants to see the talk of reconciliation have some real meaning in a time of crisis.”

Premier John Horgan offered to meet with B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond, MLA for Prince George-Valemount, about the issue.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Agricultural Land ReserveBC politics

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

Just Posted

Residents of Golf Lane say they are tired of their houses and vehicles being hit by golf balls from the nearby Maple Ridge Golf Course, and worry someone is going to get killed by a wayward drive. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge Golf Course neighbours say they need protection

City willing to explore solutions says director of parks

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Ineke Boekhorst with the Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association says Sparkle has been a huge hit with downtown businesses. (The News files)
Maple Ridge business to get free Earth Day window cleaning

Event put on by the Downtown Maple Ridge BIA and Christian Life Assembly

Allen, Mel, and Trevor Leung pose on the Whitecaps field in Vancouver. (Special to The News)
Community rallies to support Maple Ridge man suffering from paralysis, kidney issues

GoFundMe set up to help Allen Leung and his family during difficult times

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read