Drug treatment centre won't go forward because worried neighbours bought the property

A drug recovery facility set to open in Penticton in January will not go ahead as planned after concerned neighbours pooled their money to buy the property instead.

Centre was to open in residential area, neighbours pooled money to buy property instead

Michelle Jansen planned to open the centre as a tribute to her son Brandon, pictured here, who died of a fentanyl overdose in 2016. (Michelle Jansen)

A recovery centre for drug users in a residential area of Penticton, B.C., will not be opening as planned because concerned neighbours bought the property to stop the centre from going ahead.

Michelle Jansen planned to open the treatment centre as a tribute to her son Brandon Jansen, 20, who died of a fentanyl overdose in March 2016.

She said the deal had nearly closed on a $1.4 million Juniper Drive property in Penticton, when a group of neighbours bought the property instead.

"I just think it's deplorable. I think this is a prime example of stigma surrounding addiction," said Jansen.

Jansen said she was in negotiations to buy the house and had alerted the seller to inspection deficiencies when "all of a sudden the deal was called off."

'The opioid crisis has not hit these families'

"I was advised by my realtor ... that the neighbours had been contacting the sellers who live on the East Coast to say that they were really unhappy. They didn't want the recovery centre in their neighbourhood."

"I guess they pooled their money together and convinced the sellers to sell the house to them."

She said the City of Penticton also informed her that neighbours had made complaints, though her planned facility complied with local rules and regulations.

Jansen had not addressed neighbours about her plans prior to making an offer on the home. 

"Once it was a firm deal, then we were going to go with our brochures and our marketing material and go have discussions with the neighbours one-on-one," she said.

Brandon Jansen, in a photo taken in March 2016, the day before he died of a fentanyl overdose at the Sunshine Coast Health Centre in Powell River, B.C. (Michelle Jansen)

Jansen's son Brandon visited 11 different treatment centres before he died of a fentanyl-related overdose at age 20 at the Sunshine Coast Health Centre in Powell River in 2016.

The facility planned for Penticton will be different, says Jansen, with security and around-the-clock monitoring and therapy.

CBC has contacted the neighbours of the Juniper Drive property, but they have declined requests for an interview.

"Clearly the opioid crisis has not hit these families, these neighbours, but I tell you it will occur. It will hit their inner circle at some point," said Jansen.

She is now looking for a new property in Penticton and hopes to open a facility in February 2018.

With files from CBC's Daybreak South

About the Author

Jaimie Kehler

Jaimie Kehler is a web writer, producer and broadcaster based in Kelowna, B.C. She has also worked for CBC News in Toronto and Ottawa. To contact her with a story, email jaimie.kehler@cbc.ca.