Now that plans for the former St. Joseph’s School site have come to light, people can breathe easier.
However, there does still seem to be some confusion about this venture somehow being horrible for the community.
It won’t be a homeless shelter. That’s good news.
It also won’t be a food bank, soup kitchen or safe injection site. More good news.
What it will be is a place for a women’s residential therapeutic program to help those in recovery from alcohol and drug addictions.
This is precisely the kind of facility that’s sadly lacking around the province. We want people to recover from alcohol and drug problems, not feed them more of their habits.
This is where the safe injection sites are sadly failing. The people going to the sites are still addicted to drugs and the long-term prognosis for becoming productive members of society isn’t any better because of it.
We also hear so much about “safe supply.” Drugs are still drugs whether they come from a more reliable source or not so, again, keeping people addicted is not a very viable option for turning their lives around.
Of course, people still have to want to change and ditch their habits. But with a little coaxing from family members and the right people, the best thing for the long term for the addicts and the communities in which they live is to start them on a new path.
Bernie Willock and members of the Cowichan Valley Intentional Recovery Community Society are going to provide exactly that at St. Joseph’s, a new beginning for women who’ve had a tough time. It will be extremely hard for residents, but they’ll be closely monitored and won’t be wandering around the community like those in homeless shelters or even those in the numerous B.C. Housing supported facilities who are still on drugs and have no focus to their lives.
It’s going to take the better part of a year and a half to get operational at St. Joseph’s and they’ll be starting small. But those initial steps are going to be made. That’s the main thing.
We don’t need any more window dressing on today’s major societal issue.