Open house event aims to answer questions about Kitchener CTS
Jeff Pickel, CTV Kitchener
Published Tuesday, October 1, 2019 8:20AM EDT
KITCHENER - Residents were looking for answers about Waterloo Region’s first temporary consumption treatment services site at a recent event.
The region hosted an open house at St. John’s the Evangelist Anglican Church Church Monday night in Kitchener.
A number of police, health, and outreach officials were on hand in hopes of addressing potential concerns.
The church is located across from 150 Duke Street West: the location where the CTS is set to open in a few weeks.
Gord Salm lives about four blocks away from the future site and says he had initial concerns with the CTS.
“I heard about it and if it’s just going to be to get a fix, than that doesn’t really solve anything,” he said. “But they can have a safe place to do it, needles don’t get messed up, they can apply for help, and have a chance to maybe change their lives.
“You have to try something different. If other things don’t work maybe this will work.”
One social support coordinator at the event hopes he and others are able to help others learn what the CTS offers.
“There can be an inbred concern and fear about what it’s about,” said Pete Mckechnie of Sanguen Health Centre. “If you can create some surety and a concept of what’s happening then that’s a bonus.”
He adds that studies have found crime in the area of a CTS neither increases nor decreases.
Event attendee Steve Ryan says he’s concerned about the impression the site will leave on tourists coming through the downtown core.
“Put it in the mayor’s office and let him clean up the syringes,” he said. “Downtown Cambridge said no we don’t want it down here.”
While the interim site is expected to be ready by October, the permanent site at the same location is set to open early in 2020.
“It’s really important that our entire community be aware of it and have the opportunity to learn more,” said Violet Umantex, Director of Harm Reduction for Sanguen Health Centre. “We also want them to express any of their concerns or their feedback to us.”
The open house will continue at St. John’s Church from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesday.