Victoria councillor Marianne Alto.

Support growing for supervised injection sites

When Marianne Alto walked into a public hearing regarding supervised injection sites, she was surprised by what she heard.

When Marianne Alto walked into a public hearing at City Hall regarding the proposed supervised injection sites, she was surprised by what she heard.

A number of residents expressed support last week for the supervised injection sites that many are seeing as a new tool to help reduce the number of overdose deaths on Vancouver Island.

“Remarkably, the majority of people were very supportive, and I’ll confess, it was a surprise to me,” said Alto, a city councillor.

“In the last 19 months to two years, the situation has become so dire that people have moved from resistance to this as one solution to an acceptance of the fact that this is a solution that’s needed.”

Earlier this month, Island Health announced its plan to establish three supervised injection sites in Victoria — two public sites at 941 Pandora Ave. and at 2920 Bridge St. in Rock Bay, along with a third private site at the former Central Care Home on Johnson Street, which was set up to house former residents of tent city this summer.

As part of two drop-in public meetings last week, roughly 150 residents and local business owners showed up to learn more about the project and voice their opinions, both for and against it.

Residents asked what Alto called  “practical” questions, surrounding how the injection site would work, security, hours of operation and number of staff on site.

The issue of overdose deaths has plagued the province for months and Victoria is not immune. There have been dozens of overdose deaths in Victoria, five of which came in the last week, which prompted Island Heath’s chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick to issue a public warning when consuming illicit drugs.

It’s an issue Stanwick believes the people of Victoria are quickly coming to grips with and are beginning to realize a solution is needed.

“These events are occurring. It’s a matter of us getting something up and running,” Stanwick said. “There’s a bit of a sense of urgency of are we rushing through this a little faster than we would normally like, but people are dying and people are overdosing.”

He noted some residents expressed concern about turning parts of the community into unsafe places and questioned if Island Health could replicate the success of Insite, the country’s only supervised injection site located in Vancouver. Stanwick said Island Health has experience opening new services and balancing the needs of the community, with its sobering centre on Pembroke Street in Victoria, which was met with similar concerns.

Island Health will submit a proposal to Health Canada in the next few months for approval.

Feedback on the proposed sites can still be provided by email at scs@viha.ca or through an online survey at viha.ca/scs until Dec. 2.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Wind warning in effect for Greater Victoria

Strong winds could reach up to 80 km/hr along coastal areas

Metchosin supports moving to three-year municipal term

Some councillors say four years is too much of a commitment

Police seek owner of sailboat beached in Oak Bay

Residents reminded to steer clear of the vessel

Heavy snowfall closes Mount Washington for the day

Road to ski resort deemed unsafe, “high avalanche danger”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Saanich signals support for in-fill developments in Gorge-Tillicum

The Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood continues to experience infill. Council’s committee-of-the-whole signaled Saanich’s support… Continue reading

Philadelphia Eagles headed to Super Bowl

After routing the Minnesota Vikings 38-7, they will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots

Victoria blues man named Canada’s best new artist

Maple Blues Awards gives top nod to guitarist Jason Buie

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Vessel washed ashore in Campbell River during last night’s storm

A vessel appears to have gotten loose and washed to shore on… Continue reading

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Most Read