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

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
211 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health over the weekend

Currently, there are 875 active cases of the virus in the region

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. As of April 19, more than 230,000 doses have been administered across the Interior Health region. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press)
More than 230K doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered across Interior Health

A total of 220,216 first doses and 13,775 second doses have been given to residents across the B.C. Interior

100 Mile RCMP are asking the public’s help in locating this boat. (Photo submitted).
UPDATED: Stolen boat in 108 Mile found, returned to owner

Owner contacted by third-party witness on social media.

An RCMP cruiser flashes its light as it speeds up Highway 97. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Drivers stopped in joint operation, several offences investigated

The operation was organized by the local BC Highway Patrol traffic enforcement unit on April 17.

The Cariboo Regional District. (Angie Mindus photo)
CRD considers user-pay, other options to reduce waste

Regional district to seek public feedback before updating plan.

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
B.C. health authority seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

Chakalaka Bar and Grill plans to continue serving customers without public health compliance

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Large police presence at Kamloops mall following alleged armed robbery

Police were called to a business near the mall about 12:45 p.m.

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read