Celebrating 20 Years of Sunshine Coast Health Centre

March marks the 20th anniversary of Sunshine Coast Health Centre! SCHC opened for business on March 15, 2004, with owners Melanie and Andy taking over ownership in 2005. You will still find Andy onsite with the maintenance team ensuring the facility is in tip-top shape and Melanie in daily meetings connecting with staff.

A lot has changed over 20 years as we continually adapt our modalities and program to new research and methods. But change and new ideas are part of the growth process!

Enjoy the full journey of SCHC in this blog, you might learn something you may not have known before.

Drone shot of sunshine coast health centre

The Familial Roots of Sunshine Coast Health Centre

Unlike many founders in the treatment and recovery industry, Cathy Jordan, mother of Melanie Jordan, did not start SCHC after attending treatment. Instead, she got into the addiction treatment business years after she had closed her 36-bed facility, the Banyan Centre, for residents with developmental challenges or severe mental health issues.

In the early 2000s, Cathy put the property up for sale. At the time, Cathy did not know that there was a market for private addiction treatment. She had never heard of Hazelden or the Betty Ford Center. She had assumed that any residential care in BC was either publicly funded or under contract with the province.

It was in 2003 that Cathy’s son, Daniel Jordan, stepped in to help research how to operate a successful treatment centre. Daniel is still with SCHC today as our Director of Strategic Development and works closely with our Admissions team.

Fun fact: many family members work at SCHC in all departments! Sisters, Casey Jordan and Taylor have worked at the centre for years. Casey is our Administrative Director and Taylor works alongside their dad, Andy, maintaining the beautiful grounds of SCHC.

In the left photo you’ll find Casey and Daniel at one of the many conferences they attend each year. In the right photo you’ll find Andy and Taylor ensuring the grounds are beautiful and safe for all clients and staff.

Early Days Before SCHC

In 2003, Daniel travelled across North America visiting treatment centres to see what kind of program SCHC should offer. It was decided SCHC would be a miniature version of Hazelden, a facility in Minnesota that opened in 1949 and is considered the granddaddy of all treatment centres.

During that time, Sunshine Coast Health Centre started to take shape. The first program director was hired, and after arriving in Powell River he explained that we would need a medical director, a medical unit, a psychiatrist, a nurse, and a family program. Okay!

Daniel drove to the “city centre” of Powell River and knocked on the door of the first medical clinic on Marine Drive. As luck would have it, it was Jacques du Toit’s clinic. After about five minutes of introducing himself and the purpose of his visit, he signed up! A nurse was found through a local temp agency along with four medical beds. Presto! We had a medical unit.

Fun fact: Jacques met our psychiatrist, Dr. Stu Howard, on the Texada ferry in 2008 while travelling for his weekly commute to Cranbrook General Hospital. The rest, as they say, is history.

Our Campus in 2004

What you now know as the facility today was three buildings when we opened in 2004, with alder and maple trees covering most of the property.

The residential rooms were upstairs, and clients slept two to a room. The medical unit was on the ground floor and consisted of an examination room, a bathroom, and two rooms. We’ve since expanded and now have a beautiful medical unit, but you have to start somewhere!

A look at what our Red Door Building and Cliffside Building looked like in the beginning vs now:

Fun fact: The house that Cathy and her kids used to live in pre-SCHC days is now what you know as the Renewal Centre (Admin building).

Sunshine Coast Health Centre Today

Today, the property has expanded beyond what we first imagined! The 34-bed facility is located on a 9-acre property and includes a pool, sauna, gym, and private oceanfront beach access. What was once a two-bed medical unit is now a beautiful medical wing with a nursing station and 8 rooms.

In 2007, we shifted from a 12-step model to a non-12-step meaning-based treatment approach. SCHC is unique in Canada and our facility is small enough to allow clients to connect with their peers and staff, yet large enough to support a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary approach to addiction and mental health treatment.

We are also a designated provider of trauma and addiction services for the Department of National Defence Canada and treat clients from Veterans Affairs Canada, the RCMP, and smaller policing organizations. Our program is continually expanding with growing research and includes clinicians and staff knowledgeable in addiction, trauma, and PTSD.

So, here we are, twenty years later with an amazing team of dedicated and capable professionals helping a diverse range of clients. At its core, Sunshine Coast Health Centre is a long-standing treatment centre with strong familial roots, and we hope to continue for another 20 years!

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