Bashaw town council turned down a request from an addictions treatment program to reconsider its denied application to operate a new program at a retreat centre in town.
The decision was made at the July 22 regular meeting of council.
Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Theresa Fuller presented councillors with an application for a business development permit for the Bashaw Retreat Centre located at 5340 51A Street to accommodate a family addictions treatment program to be operated by an organization called Young Spirit Winds from Maskwacis.
A presentation made at a June council meeting by applicant James Carpenter stated Young Spirit Winds operates a program for First Nations youth dealing with addictions, and Young Spirit Winds wanted to host a new program at the Bashaw Retreat Centre that includes the youth and their families.
Young Spirit Winds organization describes itself on its Facebook page as, “We are a First Nations Youth Treatment Facility designed to assist First Nations youth ages 12-17 with drug & alcohol addictions, Grief & Loss, anger mngmt.”
Fuller reminded them the application had to come to council originally because the retreat centre is in a “direct control” (DC) zone, meaning council directly approves zoning changes and the retreat was not currently being used as a treatment centre.
The application for a development permit was defeated by council’s vote at the July 8 council meeting, and Fuller noted, normally, development applications of this kind won’t be accepted again for six months unless the application has substantially changed.
It was at the council meeting again because the DC zoning meant council rather than the development officer had to make a decision about the request.
“The applicants are inquiring if council would consider a reapplication from Young Spirit Winds,” stated Fuller in her report. “They appear to believe the application was turned down due to a lack of community engagement.
“The reconsideration of an application within six months is at the discretion of the development authority and there is no absolute prohibition against reconsidering the application before the six month period expires.”
Coun. Kevin McDonald asked for clarification on the development permit’s details.
“Is this not the same application that was dealt with at the last council meeting?” asked McDonald.
Fuller answered, “Yes,” adding that the only change was the name of the applicant. The first applicant, James Carpenter, who spoke to council at a June council meeting, had been replaced by Young Spirit Winds. Otherwise it was the same.
Coun. Darren Pearson also wanted clarification. “…But nothing’s changed,” he said.
Fuller stated only the applicant’s name changed and there was no further information added. “The previous application…there was not a lot of details,” said the CAO.
Coun. Rosella Peterman, who voted against the request July 8, stated she felt the same way. “My opinion has not changed, a treatment centre doesn’t belong in a residential area,” said Peterman.
Coun. McDonald added, “I agree.”
Coun. Pearson agreed, saying, “I just don’t think it’s good for the community.”
Councillors unanimously voted to deny the request to refile the business development permit application.
It was noted at the meeting that Young Spirit Winds could re-submit their application six months after it was defeated.
Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative reporter