City councillors have been hearing plenty of opposition to the idea of safe injection sites at four locations in the inner city. It has some, talking about a compromise from the original stance of the city to go ahead at all locations.
“It was very rushed,” said Phil O’Hara of the McCauley Community League. “They did a poor consultation in my opinion in our neighborhood.”
He said he hopes coverage on the four sites is reduced, but keeping the 24-7 approach to it. “They don’t want to say no to the idea,” O’Hara said of city council. “I come from a health promotion back ground. This is a good idea in principle. The way it’s being framed, the model being presented is the problem.”
Four locations are proposed in the city report that will be voted on by city council on Tuesday. The Royal Alexandra Hospital would be the main one while the other three, Boyle Street Community Services, George Spady Centre, and Boyle McCauley Health Centre would see partial service where at least one of them would be open at all times.
However there is a reluctance on council to scrap the whole idea and start over. One idea of compromise that’s being talked about is monitoring and community input.
“I don’t know that you can’t rescind things,” said Coun. Michael Walters. He sees the federal government able to step in with revisions if needed. “If something clearly not working and meeting the outcomes, which is to save people’s lives, I’m very confident that significant adjustments could be made.”
Walters said a compromise likely won’t mean scrapping parts of the plan, but instead would likely mean listening to community observations as the first year of the program evolves. “Where the police would relate to it or the way that the organizations would work with the clients or work with the community can change.”
A special City Council meeting will be held Tuesday, during a break in the regular Executive Committee meeting, where they’ll vote on the proposal.