Recovery house expansion proposed

Council to vote on project Nov. 2

The entrance to the L.I.F.E. assisted living facility on Braeside Street.

The entrance to the L.I.F.E. assisted living facility on Braeside Street.

An assisted living centre for women recovering from drug addiction on Braeside Street in central Abbotsford is hoping to expand from 18 to 30 beds.

Rezoning the L.I.F.E. Recovery Society Association centre to allow three more storeys was met with opposition from neighbours, but centre leadership and staff insist they want to work harmoniously with the community.

The association does not currently have funding for an expansion, but hopes to obtain money from the province.

The centre uses “abstinence-based” treatment, and doesn’t allow anyone using drugs, including methadone, or actively detoxing. Instead, it offers those who just got clean a supportive environment to live and to attend counselling.

Some neighbours of the facility said they opposed the expansion because they find the centre’s current residents often disturb them by speaking loudly or smoking outdoors.

Wendy Utvich, who lives nearby, told council she sometimes is woken up by residents smoking and chatting at 5:30 in the morning, and she is concerned about the criminal records of some residents given the facility’s close proximity to Ten-Broeck elementary.

“That really concerns me, considering this facility overlooks a school playground with children in it,” Utvich said.

Another nearby resident said smoke often wafts from the centre’s smoking pavilion into his yard, where his children play.

L.I.F.E. leadership and staff, upon hearing these complaints, expressed a desire to work with the community and keep the peace.

“The reality is, the problem of addiction is not going to go away, and people need to recover somewhere,” she said. “We think we’re running a great program, and we’d like to share it with as many people as we can.”

A vote on the expansion will take place at the council meeting on Nov. 2.