Region puts off decision on injection sites in Cambridge cores
Published Tuesday, April 10, 2018 11:54AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 10, 2018 4:59PM EDT
Could a supervised injection site end up in the Galt, Preston or Hespeler cores? After discussion from regional councillors Tuesday morning, it’s still a possibility.
Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig had asked for the three cores to be excluded from consideration, citing concerns he had heard from people living and working in those areas and what he called the “economically fragile” state of the areas.
“It only traumatizes people more about what is happening,” Craig told CTV News following the meeting.
“The overwhelming majority of people that have spoken to me in Cambridge don’t want safe injection sites in their core areas.”
A list of potential locations for supervised injection sites in Waterloo Region is expected to be made public as early as next month. Craig asked regional councillors to vote pre-emptively to exclude the three Cambridge cores from consideration.
In the end, councillors decided not to either vote in favour of or against Craig’s request, instead deciding to put off a vote until a list of potential sites has been completed. Any specific sites identified will be subjected to public consultation before final decisions are made.
Regional Chair Ken Seiling said councillors questioned how parts of Cambridge could be excluded from consideration without similar concessions being made in other cities.
“To allow one municipality to set aside areas and not other municipalities would not seem to be fair,” he said following the vote.
Public health officials have said they would prefer to see sites located around central Kitchener and the Galt core, as those are the two locations where opioid-related emergencies are reported most frequently. They have also suggested that a third site could be temporary or mobile in nature.
Craig said he and city councillors in Cambridge would not be opposed to an injection site located outside the city’s cores but within walking distance of one of them.
Regional councillors did vote unanimously Tuesday in favour of moving ahead with plans to pursue up to three supervised injection sites, in which drug users are given clean needles and a sterile environment, as well as a needle disposal mechanism and access to other health care and social services.
With reporting by Natalie van Rooy