The City of Richmond and Turning Point Recovery Society have been quietly working on putting a women's support recovery centre in a single-family home near the old site of Steveston Secondary.
A group of neighbours are understandably concerned and have signed a petition, opposing the home.
Addiction raises all sorts of fears of the unknown and visions of trembling, disheveled drug addicts descending en masse onto a helpless family-oriented neighbourhood. But it's worth remembering that recovering addicts are far away from addicts.
The women who will be living in the house have battled addiction and are in a recovery mode, using the home as a final step in getting their lives back on track.
Turning Point, which will lease the facility from the city, has been a flashpoint for controversy in the community over the past 12 years.
Its first facility, a nine-bed group home on Odlin Road, opened in 1999 to hysterical opposition. There were claims drug dealers would take over the area and property values would plummet.
It never happened. Not only have the residents been no trouble, they've been community minded as well. They've helped build several community gardens over the past few years.
In 2007, Turning Point proposed another facility for Ash Street. That proposal was flawed. A large 40-bed facility was planned for a residential neighbourhood, largely populated by single-family homes. It was too big. ( The province, which owned the land, asked for a bigger facility. )
It too faced significant opposition, some of which was mean-spirited and highly misleading, implying Turning Point used "experimental" methods and the area was about to over-run by crooks and addicts looking for a fix. The proposal was eventually withdrawn.
However, Richmond is in dire need of a recovery home for women. The No. 2 Road house has beds for up to 10 women and does not require public rezoning approval, so it's a done deal.
There are people in our community who have had troubles with substance abuse. Helping them get back on their feet is an important contribution the community can make.
Turning Point has a strong record of safety and success to stand behind. There are many group homes in Richmond, including Horizon House, a six-bed mental health facility, and Nova House, a transition house for women and children.
This new group home won't lower property values and won't bring crime to the neighbourhood. It will provide a great home and a helping hand for those who need it.