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CRESTON, B.C. The famed Endicott centre for the mentally challenged is being shut down possibly so that private interests can profit from the use of the more than 20 acres of prime real estate, CUPE has been told.

Frustrated and concerned staff members at the facility, now operated by the Creston and District Society for Community Living, say residents will be sent back into the community even though they are not able to care for themselves.

This will devastate the lives of those who are most vulnerable in this region, said CUPE BC president Barry ONeill after visiting the facility yesterday. CUPE will be researching the situation to determine why the facility is being closed.

There now are 11 residents at the centre, one of the most unique in British Columbia, but it could accommodate dozens more, ONeill was told. Endicott has traditionally provided a home to some of the hardest-to-care-for clients. Many of them are over 40 with no family or home outside the centre.

These people really have no place to go that will adequately meet their needs, he said. They are being set up for failure. Staff members say client families do not want their disabled loved ones vacated from the centre where they often thrive under a caregivers guidance.

This town was once proud of the Endicott centre. Now it seems that someone wants to get rid of it for reasons that may be suspect and a conflict of interest, ONeill said. It seems that a lighthouse facility is being torn apart to make room for profit.

The centre closed Rosewood House last week and plans to shut down Archibald House in June.

ONeill visited Endicott as part of a province-wide Strong Communities tour to discuss ways of addressing the damage done to communities by the Campbell Liberals. He is in Cranbrook today.


Contact: Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications,