James Davis, a 26-year-old being treated by a court order for alcohol addiction, lives in a room on the third floor of the North Delta Inn. Davis is taking part in a 90-day program run by VisionQuest Recovery Society.

Recovery society being evicted from Delta hotel

VisionQuest told renting the top floor of the North Delta Inn contravenes bylaw

It made perfect financial sense for Jim O’Rourke.

Rather than overpay for two recently rented houses, the executive director of a local addiction recovery service decided to move into a North Delta hotel.

Rooms would be rented on an as-needed basis, he concluded.

In the first week of February, VisionQuest Recovery Society rented the third floor of the North Delta Inn, where its clients, 20 recovering addicts under court order to get clean, proceeded to also clean up the hotel.

With permission from hotel management, VisionQuest cleaned the walls, tore out old carpets, replaced dirty mattresses and fixed leaking pipes.

They also brought in their own furniture.

Just weeks in, the society is being evicted, despite its best intentions – and a justice system-supported reputation for turning around the lives of addicts.

The group must be gone by March 1, according to a notice by Delta bylaw officials, who cited that hotel space rented to a recovery society contravened Delta Zoning Bylaw No. 2750.

“They think I’m trying to open up a treatment centre,” O’Rourke said. “(But) they hold all the aces.”

Mayor Lois Jackson said Delta is just following procedure.

“The real issue here is the property owner failing to follow an established long-standing rezoning application process,” said Jackson in a Feb. 26 press release. “This is standard procedure applicable to all municipalities operating under the Local Government Act, not just the Corporation of Delta.”

She added that at no time did the property owner of the North Delta Inn or VisionQuest contact the municipality to discuss permitted uses and their proposed occupancy, and that in principle, she has no problem with VisionQuest operating in Delta if it complies with zoning regulations.

Photo: Jim O’Rourke at the North Delta Inn.

O’Rourke was informed by his lawyer on Wednesday that a judge has rejected VisionQuest’s appeal against the eviction, and that Delta bylaw officers will be on scene on Friday to carry out the municipality’s orders.

Formed in 1995, VisionQuest currently runs 10 recovery homes in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford. The non-profit society’s motto is “crime prevention through rehabilitation,” and it takes a no-nonsense, cold-turkey approach to addiction treatment.

The program is 90 days, although clients are not forced to leave afterwards.

“If they don’t have a place to go that’s not solid for them… a lot of these guys don’t have homes to go back to,” said drug and alcohol counsellor Frank Degenstien. “If they’ve got somewhere to come, they’re not doing crimes on the street.”

The clients are prolific offenders, and have been ordered by judges and prosecutors to take the VisionQuest program – the alternative is prison, they’re told.

“The Crown and prosecutors know the reputation we have, that if they decide to bolt, we file the report immediately,” said Degenstien. “The judges, they trust VisionQuest.”

O’Rourke admits it’s difficult to get public support and donations for his society because clients are “convicts and they’ve broken lots of laws.”

But he said recovery is a major part of crime prevention.

He keeps his cellphone on at all times, for calls from addicts’ family members, who more than once have stated: “He’s a good boy.”

O’Rourke agrees.

“They all are when they’re not using dope.”

For more information or to help with space, call Jim O’Rourke at 604-537-4401, email info@visionquestsociety.org or visit www.visionquestsociety.org

 

bjoseph@surreyleader.com

 

 

Just Posted

Fatal crash in Langley

RCMP is currently on the scene of a fatal collision between a vehicle and a motorcycle in Aldergrove

‘I am still in awe’ says Aldergrove’s Martel

Ryan Martel enjoying rookie season with Calgary Roughnecks

Pot forum in Fort Langley

Marijuana experts from Colorado among scheduled speakers

Challenger Baseball gives everyone a chance to play ball

Weekend event to raise money for Challenger Baseball program

VIDEO: Langley soapbox derby draws more competitors

41st annual Soap Box Derby put on by the Langley Evangelical Free Church

Toronto van attack suspect faces 10 counts of first-degree murder

The suspect in the Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 15 others on Monday is a 25-year-old man named Alek Minassian

Turning vehicles into deadly weapons is easy and cheap, expert says

Not all recent vehicle attacks have been linked to terror groups, says Candyce Kelshall

Canada not properly managing fish farms, environment commissioner says

Better standards are in place in British Columbia, meaning less fish have escaped, reports show

B.C. to give municipalities final say over rental zoning

City halls will be required to provide housing needs assessment

B.C. firm linked to Facebook data scandal defends its political work

AggregateIQ says it helps customers craft messages for online political ads, use data for campaigns

Toronto van attack accused was briefly in Canadian Armed Forces

Alek Minassian was a member of the forces from Aug. 23, 2017 until Oct. 25

Hospital hero wins international honour for disarming knife wielding man

Charles Kraeling is the first Island Health employee to receive an International Award of Valour

Parents call for change to health laws after Victoria teen’s death

Accidental overdose has Elliot Eurchuk’s parents seeking change to B.C Infants Act

B.C. guitarist aims to play for 116 hours, break Guinness record for charity

Local musician will aim to break Guinness record at River Rock Casino Resort, starting May 7

Most Read