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

A Quesnel resident receives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine earlier this month. (Photo credit: Cassidy Dankochik/Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
IH says COVID-19 vaccines safe despite claims of Lytton physician

Doctor makes unsubstantiated claims about serious side effects of Moderna vaccine

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

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood, this includes protecting one’s home by moving equipment and other assets from these areas to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-normal spring flood season

High-streamflow advisory issued for the Cariboo Region and areas including Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
110 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Provincial health officers announced 1,005 new cases throughout B.C.

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

Interior Health issued warning April 18, 2021 of crack cocaine in Penticton that looks similar to the substance above containing fentanyl. (Interior Health photo)
Interior Health warns of fentanyl contaminated crack-cocaine in Penticton

There have been recent reports of overdose associated with the use of this substance

..
Abbotsford nurse at ‘breaking point’ pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously

Instagram post urges general population to stay home, wear a mask and get vaccinated

A native-to-B.C. wild queen bee (bombus melanopygus for those in the know) feeds on a periwinkle flower. (Submitted/Sarah Johnson, Native Bee Society of BC)
B.C.’s wild bees need messy gardens to survive

The year-long nesting period makes habitat a primary concern for wild bees

FILE – Health-care workers wave to people clapping and yelling thank you to the frontline workers during the 7 p.m.-tribute outside the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, B.C. Wednesday, April 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. nurses issue plea for all to follow health orders as hospitalizations spike

Nurses worried about strain COVID-19 is having on hospital capacity, care

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

Lawsuit filed last summer accused Barney Williams of verbal abuse

Former B.C. premier Christy Clark. (Black Press Media files)
Former B.C. premier to testify at money laundering hearing today

Attorney General David Eby has been added to the witness list as well

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. to table budget that’s expected to deal with COVID-19 pandemic and beyond

Robinson released a fiscal update last December that said the impact of the pandemic on B.C.’s economy was uncertain

Most Read