Red Deer needs to find a solution to syringe debris: city manager

City will consider the problem during the 2018 operating budget talks

Finding used needles on the ground around the City of Red Deer is a huge problem that needs to be addressed, says City manager Craig.

That’s why the city will consider the issue during its 2018 operating budget discussions starting in January. More information will be released on Wednesday, said Curtis.

Currently, there are about six city staff members who pick up syringes debris and other drug paraphernalia from the city’s park system every Wednesday during the summer months. The number of staff tackling the problem varies depending on the site.

Curtis, who went out on a site north of 32 Street over the summer, said some sites have a very high number of needles, while others — not so much. He went out as part of “Not Too Undercover Boss” where the city management explore the services provided by the ground-level employees.

“My personal findings are this is an issue it need to be addressed head on,” he said. “We obviously need to a higher priority because of the growing number of sites.”

But the problem, is not just limited to Red Deer. Curtis said the problem exists in other Alberta cities as well such as Calgary and Edmonton.

The number of needles found in the park system in the city has increased this year. That may be because a large campsite was cleared by the province near Highway 2 during the summer months.

“I have no doubt that certainly relocated a number of those people who had been occupying that site there,” he said.

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