Rehab centre in the works for Fort St. John

"We do so many things well in Northeastern B.C. Surely to God, we can tackle the problem of addiction and bring it to its knees in our own backyard."

The facility will feature a 28-day treatment program for men, women and youth. The three groups will be segregated.

The facility is expected to house between 38 – 42 patients at a time, who must be clean and sober when accepted. In addition to double rooms with private bathrooms, the building will also have a kitchen and dining room as well as private and group counselling areas.

The recovery centre will employ an estimated 12 people, including an executive director, 2-3 clinical counsellors and several support and medical staff.

Along with Lantz, some of the Directors of the Northern Lights Recovery Centre Society include Lantz's partner Janet McNaughton, David Scott Moncrieff, and Executive Director of the Salvation Army Ben Lippers, as well as Ryan Ross who will serve as Vice-Chair and Lana Scott Moncrieff who will serve as Secretary Treasurer. Lantz will serve as Chair.

Currently, the proposal has pledges of financial support from both Shell and EnCana, as well as Regional District Chair Karen Goodings and Area C Regional Director Arthur Hadland. It also boasts support from MP Bob Zimmer, South Peace MLA Blair Lekstrom and North Peace MLA Pat Pimm, who also spoke in support of the project.

"I think it's so critical to have these kinds of facilities in this area, and for the industry to come and step up to support this kind of project is astronomical."

Lantz expects $3.5 million in costs to buy and renovate the undisclosed building, and for yearly operating costs to reach over $1 million. He says those costs will be offset by industry and government support, fundraising and client fees. The cost of the program is currently estimated at $3,500, including a $500 application fee.

Drug and alcohol abuse has gone hand in hand with the economic growth of Northeastern B.C. Alcohol abuse is also an issue that is very personal for the outgoing mayor. Lantz has struggled with alcoholism at many points in his life, including his time on council.

This project has been in the works for him for more than two years now. His goal is to have the facility up and running in a year, but admits that goal may be a little ambitious.

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