Vernon mayor says process allows treatment facility
Vernon’s mayor is aware of concerns about a treatment facility but he says little can be done to prevent the plans.
The John Howard Society is moving ahead with a 10-bed substance abuse facility for men in the 2500 block of 43rd Avenue. There will also be separate rental suites for men who are not addicted.
“Council has not been involved in the process in any way because of the process,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky of current zoning permitting the proposed activities.
“Bylaws and zoning protect the community from development it doesn’t want and it protects individuals from political interference.”
Some residents have stated that a treatment facility is inappropriate in an area where there are schools, child care centres and seniors housing.
The neighbours also believe there could be an increase in crime and residents could be put at risk.
Because zoning and land use bylaws are not being changed, there was not a need for the city to hold a formal public hearing.
Despite that, Sawatzky insists council is willing to listen to residents.
“If they don’t feel protected by bylaws, they have the option to make a presentation to council about their concerns.”
The John Howard Society will hold an information meeting about its plans Thursday at Vernon Alliance Church at 7 p.m.
Sawatzky hopes the meeting will have a positive outcome for both the society and the neighbours.
“Information and dialogue are the most important things,” he said.