Grant McKenzie, Our Place director of communications, and Dana Young, who will be the director of the therapeutic recovery community planned for View Royal, show off the site. (Katherine Engqvist/News Gazette staff)

Our Place looks to create new therapeutic recovery community in View Royal

Rezoning still needed for former site of Choices Transitional Housing

If all goes as planned, the former Choices Transitional Housing in View Royal will be home to new programming and new residents.

Our Place Society, which operated Choices, has proposed turning the site at 94 Talcott Rd. into a long term therapeutic recovery community (TRC). But for that to happen, View Royal council will have to approve a rezoning application for the site and the province will need to formally commit to funding.

“The neat thing about it is because it’s a community, the residents that come in will help choose a name and de-institutionalize it more based on their needs,” said Grant McKenzie, Our Place director of communications.

“The name ‘Choice’ came from when we first had people in tents,” McKenzie explained, adding it was the option for people to stay in tents or transition inside.

RELATED: Cool Aid’s renovated ex-hotel offers opportunities, more living space

At an open house last Thursday, representatives from Our Place unveiled plans for the site and introduced the community to Dana Young, who will be the director of the therapeutic recovery community. “We’re really hopeful, I think it will make a big difference,” Young said. “It’s really exciting to see the changes I see in peoples’ lives … They’re people you’d want as neighbours.”

She brings more than 30 years of experience in the criminal justice field and for the past 25 years has worked specifically in the areas of therapeutic communities and program development relating to drugs and alcohol. Young was the program manager of Guthrie Therapeutic Community at the Nanaimo Correctional Centre before making the move to Greater Victoria.

“We’re hoping to start with about 12 residents and we’ll gradually increase it,” she said of the proposed program, which could house up to 50 residents with stays ranging from 12 to 24 months.

It’s a model of treatment that includes ‘push ups’ – positive things residents do – and ‘pull ups’ – positive things residents do to help another that may need a boost – and is similar to society in terms of values. “It’s about residents supporting each other and keeping themselves accountable,” Young explained. “People start to look at their hopes and dreams and what’s preventing them.”

Along with learning coping mechanisms and receiving treatment – both mentally and physically – residents will also learn life skills and how to be in healthy relationships. There will also be opportunity for social enterprise projects including a woodworking shop, kiln, community garden and more.

One of the primary differences between the new program and the old housing is that the site will be closed. Unlike residents of Choices, participants in the new program will not be allowed to leave the site or use drugs or alcohol.

“The people coming to the TRC are wanting to make a change,” McKenzie said, noting they are people that want to get back to being leaders in society. “It’s about learning to make good choices … it can take a long time if your whole life has been in a gang or on the street.”

RELATED: New residents settling in to former Tally Ho Motel

The former residents of Choices were re-homed before the site closed on March 31. More than 100 residents transitioned from Choices into permanent housing with a large number moving to the former Tally Ho Motel, which was renovated and is now being operated by the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

Our Place has asked the province to contribute $1.1 million for the first year of the new therapeutic recovery program and a combined total of $4.7 million over seven years.

While McKenzie noted they have verbal support from the province, they don’t have a formal commitment for funding. However, the society is well on its way to achieving its private fundraising goal with $1.1 million of the $1.5 million goal raised.

Our Place has not filed their rezoning request with the Town of View Royal but expects to do so by mid-month. That process will allow community members to provide input. Our Place is also hosting a second open house on April 28 for residents who would like to know more about the proposal. It takes place at the centre, 94 Talcott Rd., from 1 until 4 p.m.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

ChoicesOur PlaceView Royal

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sidney event marking end of the Second World War cancelled because of COVID-19

Town Crier Kenny Podmore plans to mark the occasion with a Proclamation of Peace

Excess activity damaging Saanich golf course – despite being closed

Cedar Hill Golf Course manager reminds people of the 170 parks available in Saanich

UVic Vikes new basketball coach on the fast track

At 26, Shalie Dheensaw assumed head coaching role

Sex workers face new risks during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Desperation has kicked in’ for vulnerable, undocumented workers unable to access help

‘Small python’ found in vacant Cook Street apartment

Snake taken to CRD Animal Shelter to be claimed

VIDEO: ‘Used gloves and masks go in the garbage,’ says irked B.C. mayor

Health officials have said single-use gloves won’t do much to curb the spread of COVID-19

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

COVID-19: Postponed surgeries will be done, B.C. health minister says

Contract with private surgical clinic to help clear backlog

Black Press Media ad sparks discussion about value of community newspapers

White Rock resident hopes front-page note shines light on revenue loss during COVID-19 crisis

Nanaimo man arrested after allegedly setting house fire

Firefighters arrived to find mobile home ablaze on Barnes Road in Cedar on Thursday

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open next week

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Most Read