The Coastal Recovery Community (CRC) is up and running at 624 Farnham Road in Gibsons, with four clients in residence.
Community founder and spokesperson TJ Sheehan made what he characterized as a “bold decision” to begin providing the service despite the lack of a business license or approval for use of the property for that purpose.
Sheehan told Coast Reporter he made the decision to open without those permissions as, “too many people are dying and I just can’t sit by and watch anymore.” In addition to the four clients currently at the facility, there is a wait list of 12 and Sheehan says he gets three to five phone calls per day looking for recovery spaces.
Also still in process is the community’s assisted living registry license from the province. Sheehan states that the application for that license is “99 per cent complete.”
“The only thing that we are missing is approval from the Town of Gibsons. We need a document that says the location is OK. Everything else is totally ready to go. The problem is it doesn’t matter what we do, they [Gibsons] have a whole bunch of hoops that we have to jump through … They have a process that basically will set us up for failure no matter what we try to do. “
The Town of Gibsons did not respond to Coast Reporter’s requests for comments about CRC applications related to 624 Farnham by deadline.
Sheehan hopes the property in Gibsons will be the start of something bigger for CRC. He said the group has an arrangement in place for use of a 60-acre farm located in the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD). “The owners basically say that we have free reign as long as we can get approval from the SCRD,” he said. CRC has been in contact with the regional district, “but unfortunately the SCRD has not approved a process for us yet.”
CRC would like to use the rural property for a center that would include space for up to 50 clients. The vision is for a central facility surrounded by smaller recovery pods, where residents, including women and potentially parents with children in care, can access recovery services and support as well as affordable housing while they work on their recoveries. Sheehan’s goal is for those pods to be as self-sustainable as possible with composting toilets and solar panels.
To keep the lights on at Farnham Road and to build towards the larger center, CRC will be fundraising and they have several creative initiatives underway.
An all-ages live DJ event at Roberts Creek Hall on May 28 has been planned. Professional spin master Tyler Cater, who is a resident at CRC’s Farnham Road home, is the driving force behind this effort. Ticket information is available via Eventbrite. His goal is to raise $ 20,000 to help the CRC with an immediate need for a larger vehicle for client transportation and day-to-day operating expenses like food and utilities.
At 29 years of age, Cater has a performance pedigree that includes international touring with Surrey-raised rapper Merkules, being part of a concert opening act for rap music artist Snoop Dogg and entertaining as part of Calgary Stampede’s live music events.
With addiction impacting his life, Cater returned to his former hometown of Gibsons and connected with Sheehan. Speaking of his time to date in the CRC program and the upcoming event, Cater said “I have never felt more happy and positive, I just want to help keep this place going and alive because addiction is an issue that the Coast does have and it is heartbreaking. “
For the May event, Cater plans to include drummer Mack Avery into his sets, to expand on the performance energy. Other DJ artists are also being recruited to participate.
The music event is in keeping with the motto of “We recover loud” which Sheehan says is used by the CRC participants. Speaking out about recovery “helps other people who may be scared to come out about their addiction. It shows that we are loud and proud and willing to help people. “