Safe consumption site to move forward after unanimous regional council vote
The proposed safe consumption site on Duke Street West in Kitchener is going to provincial application.
Regional council voted unanimously in favour of the site on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is a significant public health crisis in our community,” Vrbanovic said. “We’re seeing many people die from overdoses.”
The decision comes after the police board meeting shed new light on local overdose demographics. So far this year, Kitchener has seen by far the most overdoses in the region with 117, compared to 50 in Cambridge and 14 in Waterloo.
Propose for 150 Duke Street West, the site had the least public resistance and was assessed the highest on a rating system by Public Health, scoring 19 out of a possible 25 points.
Benefits of that site included anonymity for users and proximity to downtown, while drawbacks included fear of increased crime and nearness to schools.
Now that the site has full municipal and regional approval, an application will be made to apply for provincial funding.
It's believed that only six more sites will get funding under the province's current model.
“It’s not been a survey we’ve done,” says Regional Chair Karen Redman. “Clearly they defunded some of the previous ones and decided they were going to stick with the 21 sites.”
It isn't clear whether the site will move forward or not if it does not qualify for provincial funding.
Police Chief Bryan Larkin said at the police board meeting Wednesday morning that regional police would be sending a team to Calgary to learn best practices for police officers dealing with a new safe consumption site.