Province cancels lease for addiction facility

The province terminate lease agreement for a property near Keremeos that formerly housed a residential teen addictions recovery facility.

  • Apr. 24, 2015 7:00 a.m.

The provincial government has terminated its lease agreement for a property outside Keremeos that formerly housed a residential teen addictions recovery facility.

The Crossing, which opened in 2009, was suddenly closed in March by its operator, a Quebec-based company called Portage. The facility had not been serving any clients for several months before its closure.

“We are profoundly disappointed,” Jennifer Johnstone, Central City Foundation president and CEO said in a telephone interview.

The province was only in its first year of a five-year lease with option to renew multiple times when it terminated. The province leased the facility at no charge.

Johnstone explained Central City Foundation first bought the 58-acre property in 2000.

The goal was always to turn it into a residential therapeutic facility for teens with addictions issues.

It took almost 10 years for the foundation to raise $6.5 million needed for renovations and to put together partnerships between the government and an operator.

“We did everything we did understanding that the Ministry of Health, the health authorities were going to fund that (the operating of the facility) going forward,” she said.

“We have more work to do now. It’s going to be more challenging… but I certainly have not given up on brining the government back to the project.”

The lease was officially terminated by the Provincial Health Services Authority on April 13, about six weeks after the facility was closed.

“We are sad for the families. They are what continues to drive us, the families. We know that we have years and years of evidence that longterm residential treatment work,” Johnstone said.

The provincial government has not yet announced a plan as to how they will move forward with teen and youth addictions.

There were only two other facilities in the province that offer a similar addictions program.

“PHSA (Provincial Health Services Authority) has transitioned the property back to Central City Foundation as of Monday April 13, 2015.

The decision to terminate the lease was not taken lightly and was informed by the advice of PHSA legal and facilities management colleagues,” an email from PHSA spokesperson Heather Oliver stated. “This does not preclude future operations at the site, however, PHSA is committed to exploring a full range of options for the provision of provincial youth residential treatment for substance use and are meeting with Ministry and Health Authority stakeholder partners to get input on next steps.”

Since 2009 about 400 teens were served through the program at The Crossing.

Following the sudden closure, a variety of ongoing issues have surfaced from both the operator’s and the province about operations at the facility.

Portage spokespeople have charged that they were forced to work without an official agreement with the government and without secured funding for the last two years. PHSA spokespeople have said there have been ongoing questions surrounding qualifications of staff and use of funds.

The Crossing received about $2.5 million a year in provincial funding to operate.

Just Posted

Airbnb hosts earning millions in the Okanagan

The Okanagan was among the list of three Canadian wine markets.

UPDATE: One dead, two in hospital after Highway 1 crash near Bridal Falls

Closure expected to last hours, while drivers are told to take detours

Pawnshops support curbing crime with digital database

At least two pawnshops in Penticton are in support of upgrading to a digital list of items purchased

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Walk to end abuse for those who can’t

SOWINS’s Debbie Scarborough points to the lethal potential in intimate partner abuse

Buy a lotto ticket and be a hero to B.C. burn victims

The Hometown Heroes Lottery is offering up seven grand prizes including a home in Lake Country

UPDATE: Grass fire burns near Mission Hill winery

Smoke can be seen around West Kelowna as a fire gets underway near Mission Hill

Vernon SAR manager wins national volunteer award

A Vernon Search and Rescue manager was one of those honoured for her dedication and innovation.

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

VIDEO: Pipeline supporters rally across B.C.

Five simultaneous events organized by month-old Suits and Boots lobby group

VIDEO: B.C. woman praises burn fund after boat explosion in 1978

White Rock woman was 16 years old when she was left with second- and third-degree burns

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Most Read