Just 12 months after breaking ground, the Little House in Tsawwassen celebrated its official grand opening on Sunday.
The project, however, and a new direction for the Little House Society have been almost three years in the making - and the story is far from over.
Originally a family home, the little white house on 12th Avenue was purchased by Delta in 1979 to serve as a home for programs offered by Delta Mental Health and Richmond Alcohol and Drug Action Team.
In May 1982, it was made available for 12-step meetings and in 2004 the Little House Society was established to oversee the facility.
For 27 years, the house served as a meeting place for recovery and support groups before being destroyed by fire in 2009.
After the original Little House was gutted, Jim Stimson was approached by a few board members and those who used the facility to head the board and the rebuilding of the house.
Stimson, who had visited the Little House in the past, knows a few things about substance abuse and addiction.
As a registered social worker and a licensed counsellor, he has spent almost 30 years working with clients struggling with addiction. He worked for Weyerhaeuser Canada and MacMillan Bloedel, managing their employee and family assistance programs.
He also has a lifetime of personal experience with addiction.
Stimson grew up with an alcoholic father. He took up drinking at 15 and has spent 40 years working on his own recovery from that addiction.
He said he agreed to come on board but with the stipulation the society would work on a larger vision, not merely rebuilding the house.
He was interested in creating a place where groups supporting addicts and their families could meet that also offered the society a means to increase the level of substance abuse and addiction knowledge in the community.
Stimson's vision included proactively dealing with the issue of substance abuse, while still offering support to those in, or considering, recovery and their loved ones.
"I was interested in an educational society that can become a cornerstone resource facility for addressing substance abuse, addiction and recovery."
Working with the Corporation of Delta, the society developed a plan and at the end of 2010, reached out to the community for donations.
Stimson said the society made a conscious decision to make this a community project. Over the course of fundraising for the Little House, the society did not seek any provincial or federal funds and also limited corporate donations to a maximum of $1,000.
Within a few weeks of word about the society's vision getting out, more than $30,000 in donations came in from the community.
Stimson said it was then he knew this was a project that was needed, and wanted, in the community.
"That was an absolute clear indication that we needed to move forward," he said.
And so the fundraising push began.
Ground was broken on June 10, 2011 and work began almost immediately.
More than 100 local companies and businesses donated $350,000 worth of labour, services and materials for the house. As well, more than $150,000 in cash came in.
"It is the most heart touching of all the community development work I've done in my career," Stimson said.
Hundreds from the community came out for the official opening ceremony on Sunday and, Stimson said, many opened their wallets as donations from the day totaled around $4,000.
The society still has to raise another approximately $20,000 to finish paying off the construction costs.
After just 10 months of construction, the 1,800-square-foot facility quietly opened two months ago and it's already well used.
Stimson said seven separate groups dealing with substance abuse meet a total of 52 times a month at the Little House, and there are another three groups looking at using the facility.
As well, other community groups and local businesses that use the space as a training facility rent out the Little House regularly.
"This is the heart, soul and spirit of the community," he said.
The new Little House might be complete, but the work is not over for the society.
"The real work of the society now begins," Stimson said.
After some rest, the board will begin revisiting its strategic plan and looking towards the future.
Stimson said the society has a vision of creating opportunities to help reduce the effects of substance abuse for individuals, families and the community as a whole.
He said more workshops for mothers of addicts, which were originally presented last year, are planned. As well, he also has a group of young adults, who are all in recovery, who are committed to speaking at workshops for both parents and youths.
The society believes that increased education might help save some from the pain and heartache of substance abuse and addiction.
For more information about the Little House Society, visit www.littlehousesociety.ca.
Donations can be made by calling Jim Stimson at 778-887-1828 or through Delta's parks, recreation and culture department.