Red Deer City Council (Advocate file photo.)

Red Deer city council approves bylaw for mobile SCS unit

Hospital and Safe Harbour parking lots are approved stops

Forging into unknown territory despite some personal misgivings and community opposition, Red Deer city council approved a bylaw to allow a mobile supervised consumption site to operate.

It was an emotional night around the council table on Monday. It culminated in a vote that approved only the hospital parking lot and Safe Harbour Society as approved stops for the mobile SCS unit.

Many councillors referring to the pile of letters received from Red Deerians who want no part of any kind of safe injection site — despite Alberta Health’s argument it would save people from overdosing in the fentanyl crisis.

Those on the other side of the issue have criticized council for supposedly dragging its feet while local drug addicts die.

Coun. Tanya Handley shed tears over the implication council is responsible for overdose deaths by taking time to investigate impacts of a SCS on the community. ”I have a member of my own family on the waiting list for (drug) treatment that is not there… instead of this (SCS) we need to talk treatment,” she said.

Coun. Dianne Wyntjes made an appeal for people to stop verbal assaults through social media. “I don’t want to kill anybody. That hurts when I read that,” she said, adding council is making the best decisions possible, considering “we are on new ground and no one knows what will be with mobile units.”

Coun. Lawrence Lee lashed out at drug dealers, saying more focus is needed to stem the tide of drugs getting into the province.“I’m just saying please, please, please if you get rid of the source… there are other ways of (dealing with) addictions.”

While personal qualms were expressed about a SCS, (most councillors strongly stated their preference for a local drug treatment centre — not yet funded by the province), they mostly saw a place for a SCS in preventing overdose deaths.

Coun. Vesna Higham said she was voting for the bylaw for the limits it would impose — otherwise a mobile SCS could locate anywhere in the city with only landowner approval.

The bylaw was approved unanimously (Coun. Buck Buchanan and Frank Wong were absent) — with conditions attached. To protect the general public, a license for the mobile unit will have to be reviewed in six months, only one license will be approved per calendar year, and the sites where the mobile sites will locate must be cleaned up daily from needle debris or the license will be revoked.

Mayor Tara Veer said council’s duty is to look out for the health and safety of the city’s vulnerable population — as well as everybody else.

Wyntjes argued for the mobile SCS to be a stop-gap measure. With Red Deer’s cold winters, how realistic is it to have addicted people lining up outside to use the two legalized injection sites in the trailer? she asked. “They need to have a site they can use,” so a permanent site is necessary, she added.

City council approved the hospital location at 3942-50A Avenue as an appropriate site as well as Safe Harbour, at 5246-53rd Ave. All other proposed locations are off the table.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

BILD says not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

Central Alberta real estate sales follow a familiar pattern

2018 house sale numbers mirror 2017 in central Alberta

Red Deer hospital settles dispute, welcomes neonatal nurse

A dispute over nursing levels at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s emergency… Continue reading

Drumheller-Stettler MLA quits UCP

Rick Strankman to sit as Independent

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Big Valley family gives back to community

Donates $24,560 to Stettler Health Foundation and Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital

Giordano notches three points to lead Flames in 7-1 blowout of Coyotes

CALGARY — Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in… Continue reading

All-female team out to prove women racers aren’t a gimmick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every racing series in the world is full… Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ final season to debut on April 14

NEW YORK — “Game of Thrones” fans, get ready. HBO announced Sunday… Continue reading

Kylie Jenner loses record for most-liked Instagram post

NEW YORK — Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement is no longer the most-liked… Continue reading

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

VANCOUVER — Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather… Continue reading

Trade war’s wounded: Companies improvise to dodge cost hikes

WASHINGTON — In Rochester, New York, a maker of furnaces for semiconductor… Continue reading

Most Read