Fort San Mayor 'disappointed' after council rejects proposed substance abuse treatment centre
REGINA -- The Resort Village of Fort San has denied a substance abuse treatment centre from coming to the community.
Councillors of Fort San decided substance abuse treatment centres do not fall under the term residential care facilities at a meeting on Tuesday.
The decision ultimately keeps Pine Lodge Treatment Centre and other addictions treatment centres like it from leasing the land of the former Prairie Christian Training Centre in Fort San. Pine Lodge has been looking for a temporary new home after a fire impacted its ability to use its Indian Head location.
Fort San’s Mayor abstained from the vote. He told CTV News he has heard only good things about Pine Lodge, and was disappointed by the decision made by council.
“It just wasn’t there in black-and-white and they chose to vote it down rather than make a mistake on it or make the wrong call on it,” Steve Helfrick, Fort San Mayor, said.
Council voted 3-0 against allowing centres like Pine Lodge to fall under the definition for residential care facilities. He said allowing Pine Lodge in the village would have created more jobs and would bring in tax dollars to the community.
“They have nothing but a great reputation, and I kind of would like to see that reputation brought to Fort San,” Helfrick said.
James Archer, who owns the land Pine Lodge want interested in leasing, said he is now determining whether an amendment can be made to the wording of the zoning bylaw, or if he needs to go ahead with an appeal.
“We feel rather strongly about our use fitting the zoning bylaw definition, so we’re disappointed in the outcome,” said Archer.
Helfrick said the rezoning has its benefits.
“Council can define accurately what type of application goes into that, whether it’s like the Dojack Centre or whether it is like Pine Lodge,” Helfrick said.
Archer has thirty days to appeal the decision to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board.
“I’m thinking the appeals process might be our best route. I think a zoning amendment might not be in the cards given the apparent opposition to it from local residents,” Archer said.
Archer said he will lease the empty building to Pine Lodge if approved.
“Not only disappointing to Pine Lodge but it’s disappointing of course to the clients that have been waiting to get in,” Foster Monson, Pine Lodge's executive director, said.
Monson said there is about 158 people on the waiting list at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Estevan.
According to Monson, The cost of repairs at Pine Lodge’s location in Indian Head is still unknown, and the rent at the Living Skies Retreat in Lumsden is out of Pine Lodge’s range. He said there are no other sites in the province that the treatment centre could use right now.
“It is what it is, the situation is disappointing to say the least,” Monson said.