A rally planned for tonight (July 8) outside Surrey city hall, in support of Back on Track recovery homes, has been cancelled.
Back on Track operator Cole Izsak told Peace Arch News that the change of plans is in response to seemingly positive strides in his efforts to work with the city to obtain licensing for his facility.
“It seems they are going to give me a little more time to get my Assisted Living Registration which could be finalized as early as this coming week,” Izsak told PAN by email Sunday.
City of Surrey bylaw officials gave Izsak – a South Surrey resident – notice on June 11 that his business licences for Back on Track were being cancelled as of July 10, and that he was to cease operations at three of his six sites by June 21. He was given until Aug. 15 to vacate two other units due to a lack of licensing.
The city’s acting manager of public safety operations, Kim Marosevich, told Black Press Media last month that the problem was with the operator’s inability to obtain the required provincial permits.
“There have been challenges with the locations meeting the requirements of the province for quite some time,” Marosevich noted, adding that the city was “provided notice” from the province that permits would not be issued based on inspections.
Izsak had planned the July 8 rally to share a two-fold message: “Our message is going to be save Back on Track, and close down these hell holes where people are dying,” he told PAN when announcing the rally. The latter point was a reference to an apparent lack of repercussions for licensed Surrey recovery homes where overdose deaths have been reported and conditions have been described as “deplorable.”
Izsak said Back on Track has received an “enormous amount of support” over the past few weeks, following word of its challenges.
Surrey bylaw “seem to be working with us now.” They inspected all of his recovery houses on Friday (July 5) and “seems to have given us a reprieve,” he said.