Chilliwack – In July, 2018, the proposed 20 bed treatment centre specifically targeting youth between the ages of 13 and 18, received third reading from Chilliwack City Council. The unanimous vote was in favour of both the zoning by-law and an amendment of the Official Community Plan. In short, a piece of underused and quality impaired land, not very suitable for industrial or agricultural use, will be the site of the new Chilliwack Youth Treatment Centre.
Traverse, a new treatment centre in Chilliwack, quietly opened last week to provide specialized support for youth in the Fraser Health region who are living with substance-use challenges. Staff are now processing those who qualify through an intake procedure.
The 20-bed centre is the first of its kind in the region that exclusively supports young people ages 13 to 18 years old who require an extended stay in a treatment facility to address their substance-use challenges.
Located at 45456 Yale Rd., Chilliwack, the site was designed with feedback from youth who have struggled with substance use and their parents. Culturally safe programming for Traverse was developed through consultation with local Indigenous leaders, youth and communities in order to best incorporate cultural experiences and learnings. Traverse’s Elder and Indigenous partners are involved in day-to-day programming through group and one-on-one meetings, weekly cultural groups and arranging for other Indigenous Elders to visit.
Pacific Community Resources Society (PCRS), an organization with 35 years of experience providing quality, accredited social services in B.C., has been contracted by the Fraser Health Authority to operate Traverse. PCRS will work closely with the health authority’s mental health and substance-use team to support the unique needs of each patient.
The government has provided $3.7 million to Fraser Health to support a combination of youth treatment beds and outpatient treatment services which will be used to support this new specialized treatment centre. BC Housing has invested $5 million to buy the property and build the site. Fraser Health Authority will provide ongoing operational funding for the site.
This project is a combination of resources from the City, PCRS Pacific Community Resources Society, BC Housing and Fraser Health.
Ironically the facility is in the shadow of the recently opened Molson Coors brewery. Dr Steve Essau noted that the youth should be able to feel comfortable with advertising for alcoholic beverages as that is what they will face in the real world.
Physical exercise like hiking and walks are also core to the program. A small workout room is available to the residents.
12 Step Groups such as AA and NA will eventually be invited to Traverse.
Steve Esau with Pacific Community Resources Society told FVN that the building is on schedule, and adhering health protocol. Unless there is a major change in the next few weeks, the facility will open for youths , male, female and transgender, between the ages of 13 and 18.
In a statement to FVN from the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions:
We are following the advice of Public Health Officials closely to keep British Columbians, including those in all sectors such as the construction industry, as safe as possible and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
Work continues on the Chilliwack Youth Treatment Centre located at 45456 Yale Rd., however, the pace of construction has slowed to ensure appropriate physical distancing measures are in place to protect workers.
The centre is still expected to be complete in spring 2020. Once complete, the facility, which is the first of its kind for Fraser Health, will significantly improve substance use services for youth in Chilliwack and the surrounding areas.