Clients at VisionQuest in the Chilliwack River Valley. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

Chilliwack asking province to regulate drug recovery homes via UBCM

Persistent problems with VisionQuest in the Chilliwack River Valley prompt another ask for scrutiny

It’s not a new request but B.C. municipalities are asking the provincial government for increased scrutiny on drug and alcohol recovery centres.

At this weekend’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention in Vancouver, delegates are likely to endorse a resolution put forth by the City of Chilliwack to licence and regulate, and provide oversight and accountability, to recovery houses, such as VisionQuest’s The Creek in the Chilliwack River Valley (CRV).

READ: Housing issues pressing for NDP government

VisionQuest’s operation is 36 kilometres up the CRV, sprawling over 32 acres. The treatment facility for prolific offenders has long been the bane of Chilliwack city hall. That’s because the facility has no gate, no security, houses individuals with serious criminal convictions who often walk away.

And not only does no one at the city or the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) know exactly who is at VisionQuest, police don’t either.

“Do I know who is at VisionQuest?” Upper Fraser Valley RCMP Supt. Deanne Burleigh told Black Press in a 2015 interview. “Only after someone walks away and I have arrested them… . No, I don’t know who is at VisionQuest.”

RELATED: Public safety concerns raised over prolific offenders at Chilliwack treatment facility

Beyond the obvious public safety and property crime issues of convicted offenders walking away from treatment, Chilliwack city hall’s concern is also that the facility is not within the city limits yet Chilliwack-funded policing resources are tasked to deal with issues all the time.

RCMP statistics from two years ago show police calls for services about every other day.

“There was an inordinate amount of RCMP time spent to babysit the facility,” Mayor Sharon Gaetz said this week. “Two officers go up at a time, and a return trip was close to an hour and a half.”

RELATED: Defenders of Vision Quest say long-term treatment leads to recovery

Gaetz added that the call volume dropped off for a while, seemingly a good thing but it’s possible the facility just stopped calling the police when clients walked away after the recent retirement of VisionQuest’s long-time director.

“We are asking for more accountability that would operate outside the purview of local government,” Gaetz said.

None of this is new as the wild west of recovery houses has proved problematic for municipalities left picking up the pieces when things go wrong.

The UBCM resolution this weekend is nothing new, either, with similar calls for regulation being put forward in 1995 and again in 2006.

Gaetz is on the UBCM executive (as is Coun. Jason Lum) and serves on the resolution committee so she said she couldn’t comment further on the resolution.

But essentially, it resolves that the UBCM “to urge the provincial government to undertake licensing and more stringent regulation of supportive recovery homes to ensure effective care, support, and safety for persons seeking assistance with recovery from drug and alcohol addictions; and to provide improved oversight and accountability to the communities in which they are situated.”

The UBCM resolutions committee has endorsed the resolution, and commented in the resolution book on how similar ones have been made in past years.

What the provincial government does with the request from B.C. municipalities on this and other issues remains to be seen.

The 2017 UBCM convention runs Sept. 25 to 29 in Vancouver.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


Clients at VisionQuest in the Chilliwack River Valley. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress file)

VisionQuest in the Chilliwack River Valley. (VisionQuest)

Just Posted

Council to hear $53 million plan to widen Fraser Highway over next two decades

City of Abbotsford staff have developed long-term strategy to address traffic backlogs

VIDEO: Burned Jeep matches suspect vehicle in two shooting incidents

Police discovered vehicle on fire overnight in Yorkson neighbourhood in Langley

VIDEO: One man suffers serious injuries in crash that closed Fraser Highway in Langley (updated)

One vehicle ends up in ditch after car and SUV collide, air ambulance called in

UPDATED: Gunfire erupts in quiet Langley neighbourhood early this morning

Police have 79A Avenue cordoned off after reports of shots just before 5 a.m.

Bringing the Quality back to Abbotsford

Bateman grad entering the All Star Wrestling ring on Thursday

VIDEO: Valley Vertikiller trail race

Highlights from the debut event on Saturday

5 to start your day

A South Surrey shooting, Team B.C. wins the 2017 WHL Cup and more

Justin Timberlake invited back to Super Bowl halftime show

A ‘wardrobe malfunction’ with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy during his last appearance

A scary box office weekend for everyone but Tyler Perry

‘Boo 2! A Madea Halloween’ scared up a healthy $21.7 million in its first weekend in theatres

Even as long-form census data returns, Statcan readies for day without it

Wednesday’s release is expected to show immigrants making up a larger share of the population

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

Silver Creek reacts after remains found, man arrested

Neighbours of property where remains were found say man arrested was sweet and polite

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Human remains found at Silver Creek property

RCMP have been searching the property in the 2200 block of Salmon River Road for the past three days

Most Read