Neighbours raise concerns about overdose prevention site on Trunk Road. (File photo)

Theft, drugs, aggression and public sex plaguing Duncan overdose prevention site?

Neighbours demand action due to nuisance and possibly criminal behaviour around facility

Neighbours of Duncan’s overdose prevention site are organizing to try to deal with concerns around the facility.

Mike Kelly, who lives close to the OPS, said many of the neighbours, both residential and businesses, feel the socio-economic costs of the OPS are being largely ignored.

“Since the Duncan OPS opened on Trunk Road (in April 2018), local residents and businesses have experienced theft, trespass, overnight vagrancy, loitering, trash and needle littering, loud and lewd aggressive behaviour on the streets, outdoor daytime sexual activity, off-site drug injection, and drug dealing,” Kelly said.

“In short, (we’re experiencing) nuisance and possible criminal behaviours that were rare to non-existent in our neighbourhood prior to opening the OPS. These are policy consequences that the neighbourhood focused at Trunk Road and Ypres Street is expected to bear without compensation or complaint.”

The overdose prevention site is intended to provide a place where people who use drugs can do so while being safely monitored and treated immediately if they overdose.

RELATED STORY: LONG-AWAITED OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE OPENS IN DUNCAN

The site is part of the province’s response to the opioid overdose emergency that has gripped B.C. in recent years, and is one of nine that has opened on the Island since December, 2016.

Island Health is reporting that since the site, which originally operated at 714 Canada Ave. until it moved to 221 Trunk Rd., first opened, more than 22,000 clients have visited, 150 overdoses have been reversed and zero deaths have occurred.

Last month, Island Health extended its lease on the OPS site in Duncan with the Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association until Nov. 30, 2019.

RELATED STORY: ANOTHER YEAR ADDED TO DUNCAN’S OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE

The new lease agreement states that the Canadian Mental Health Association is committed to a respectful, safe and secure operation of the OPS, and to fostering good neighbour relationships with those who live and work near this service.

This includes discouraging congregation in and around the site, and having staff security patrols during open hours and contracted security patrols when the OPS is closed.

Kelly said the neighbours intend to organize, with the support of local law enforcement resources, a neighbourhood Block Watch program, and a Good Neighbour Agreement which the CMHA is bound by its contract with Island Health to negotiate and enter.

“We believe this two prong strategy will lead to a more secure and strengthened Ypres/Trunk neighbourhood and Duncan/North Cowichan community,” he said.

Lisa Murphy, a spokeswoman for Island Health, said in a statement that the OPS is a vital service and Island Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association want to ensure the service is a good neighbour that responds appropriately if and when concerns arise.

RELATED STORY: NEIGHBOURS SAY DUNCAN OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE A BLIGHT

“We recognize there are some questions and concerns over where harm reduction services are situated,” she said.

“With support from Island Health, service providers like the CMHA work with local communities to build understanding for the need for the service, and will work collaboratively with our partners to reduce neighbourhood impact.”

Murphy said the application from the CMHA to operate the OPS, the only one received, was fully assessed against criteria included in the RFP to ensure it met requirements related to stakeholder and community engagement, client care and safety, connection to other community supports and treatment providers, to name a few.

“We welcome ongoing neighbourhood involvement around the OPS,” Murphy said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Volunteer needed to empty dog poop can in Saanich Park

Local volunteers do the work of irresponsible dog owners at Mount Doug

Sexual assault charge dropped against from CFB Esquimalt member

Navy Lt. Ronald Clancy was charged with two counts of sexual assault in August 2018

Vancouver Island overdue for the big one, can also expect mega-thrust tsunami

The last big earthquake was 70 years ago in Courtenay

Sentence handed down for sex assaults committed more than 30 years ago

Man in his 80s will serve a conditional sentence in the community

BC Ferries considers passenger only ferry between West Shore and Victoria

Royal Bay, Esquimalt and Ship Point considered as part of study into new route

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Reeling Port Alice about to lose its only bank

Scotiabank branch closure follows latest mill setback, bad for business and the elderly

Most Read