The city says it was impossible for city council to debate the province’s plan to make changes to the city’s overdose prevention site prior to the province announcing the changes on Feb. 3.
Now city council can no longer seek amendments or reject the plan.
Last Friday, the province announced the site currently operated by the harm reduction agency Turning Point will transition to a mobile site operated by Alberta Health Services over the next three to six months.
Mayor Ken Johnston said the province recently informed the city of its plan, and received a formal letter last week from the province asking that council debate and vote on the plan.
The province’s letter said it was amenable to hear the direction brought forward by council following a city council meeting.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to proceed with our normal processes after the information became public ahead of the province’s request for our decision,” said Johnston in a statement released Wednesday night.
The plan became public Feb. 1 when Red Deer city Coun. Kraymer Barnstable was overheard talking about it with a provincial colleague in a local coffee shop.
Johnston said the plan laid out by the province is strong.
“It ensures the continued services of harm reduction in a professional, compassionate, and accountable way. While how this situation has played out has not been ideal, especially for the affected staff at Turning Point, myself and my council colleagues are optimistic about the path forward.”
He said the city looks forward to working with Turning Point, AHS and the province to ensure a smooth transition for the OPS.