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Penticton  

Neighbours kill rehab centre

Plans to open a rehab centre at a Penticton home on Juniper Drive on Dec. 16 have fallen through.

Three neighbours of the home are reportedly closing a deal to purchase the home for $1.8M on Wednesday, negating the plan that Michelle Jansen had for it as a six-bed rehab facility.

The home is gated but shares a common driveway with two other residences. 

Neighbours Jesse and Ashley Duncan, who are one of three households involved in the purchase, said they were largely concerned about the safety for children.

"It's not a great situation... we didn't buy it as an investment," Jesse said.

They added that no neighbours were consulted about the plans for the home, and they found out from articles in the media.

"We've had friends who have been to these facilities, and it's not a matter of need, of course we need them... But there needs to be regulations for proper locations for them," Ashley said.

Jansen is based in Coquitlam and runs the Brandon Jansen Foundation in memory of her son, Brandon, who passed away at age 20 from a fentanyl overdose while staying at a rehab centre.

She claimed it was up to the neighbours to reach out to her if they had concerns, something that she said never happened.

"I'm based in the Lower Mainland, it's not like I'm in Penticton and I can just leisurely walk around and have these discussions. I'm a business owner in Coquitlam and would've been happy to have those discussions, but not one neighbour opted to reach out to me."

The City of Penticton's director of developmental services, Anthony Haddad, said the province's Community Care and Assisted Living Act overruled municipal zoning bylaws in this case.

"A residence of not more than 10 persons, not more of six of whom are in care, are exempt from any (zoning) provisions," he said.

"Within our zoning bylaw, we don't allow this in a residential zone. However, the provincial legislation supersedes the local government regulations on this issue. So our role in this issue was to review the business license application."

He noted that the business license application was pulled by Jansen two weeks ago.

Jansen said her deal fell through because of "enormous deficiencies" in the home following an inspection, but criticized the neighbours deeply, saying they were "driven by stigma." 

The Duncans said that one of the neighbours involved in the purchase, Mike Collins, originally built the home years ago. 

Jesse said that Collins sold the home, and he and his wife became friends with the owner when they moved in more than three years ago.

"He ended up moving out east, and he's had it for sale ever since," Jesse said.

He added that there are no deficiencies from the tours they've had of home, saying "we've toured it five times."

Jansen said she is continuing to search for a property in Penticton or Kelowna to eventually open a rehab centre in her son's name.

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