Survey showing support for SCS at Turning Point withheld from Red Deer council debate

Downtown Business Association says supervised consumpstion site survey was not reliable

A survey conducted by Red Deer’s Downtown Business Association showed overwhelming support for a permanent supervised consumption site at Turning Point, but it wasn’t presented to council when the issue was debated.

According to Amanda Gould, DBA executive director, it was not officially shown to council because there were concerns with the survey’s reliability, saying people were able to vote more than once, and the survey could have been forwarded to people outside the downtown business community for their input.

Documents obtained through a freedom of information act request show a first survey conducted in November by the DBA revealed 75 per cent of survey participants, out of 135 responses, supported a supervised consumption site at Turning Point in downtown Red Deer.

City manager Craig Curtis said the city was aware of the survey, however, it wasn’t included in the DBA’s presentation on Dec. 19, 2017 so it wasn’t put before council.

The survey was first suggested to the DBA by Jason Stephan, a lawyer and accountant with CA Tax Law, and president of the Red Deer Taxpayers Association.

After the first survey, Gould spoke with the DBA board and suggested a second survey with more controls to keep it focused to the business community. The board agreed.

The subsequent survey, with fewer participants, instead asked “The supervised consumption site being proposed is downtown within Turning Point, the local Harm Reduction Agency, on Little Gaetz (4611 50th Avenue) Do you have any concerns with this location?”

The second survey was presented to council.

It had much different numbers, but also had fewer respondents. Of the 77 responses, 71 per cent said they have concerns about a supervised consumption site at Turning Point. The second survey was limited to businesses in the downtown area and was presented to council on Dec. 19, 2017.

The next day council decided to limit a permanent supervised consumption site to the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

In the first survey with 174 respondents, 77 per cent said an supervised consumption site is needed in Red Deer. The second question showed that 75 per cent of 135 respondents said the supervised consumption site should be at Turning Point.

After the results were released, Stephan cast doubt about its reliability, citing the possibility of people voting more than once or the survey being forwarded to people outside of the business community.

Stephan relayed those concerns to Councillors Tanya Handley and Vesna Higham. Both councillors voted against allowing a supervised consumption site at Turning Point. Stephan said he sent them his thoughts because he believed they are more focused on treatment solutions, as he is, for people with opioid addictions.

“I wanted to draw to your attention real concerns with the potential unreliability of this survey’s results should it ever be raised as an argument,” he wrote in an email to the councillors.

“A supervised consumption site is not in the best interests of our community or the interests of those trapped in these awful drug addictions.”

Gould said she continues to hear from downtown businesses who aren’t supportive of a supervised consumption site located at Turning Point, or in the downtown area in general.

Council recently gave first reading to a licensing bylaw amendment that would allow for a mobile supervised consumption site. Five locations in Red Deer are being considered for its location. The amendment will return to council at its May 28 meeting, but isn’t subject to a public hearing because it is not required under licensing bylaws.



mcrawford@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Disputed Keystone Pipeline project focus of court hearing

BILLINGS, Mont. — Attorneys for the Trump administration were due in a… Continue reading

Trump launches probe into auto imports, possible tariffs

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Wednesday launched an investigation into whether… Continue reading

WATCH: Terry Loewen named Red Deer’s Citizen of Year

Gian Carlo Estoesta named Red Deer’s Young Citizen of the Year

NDP, Tories tied at 37 per cent support, new poll suggests; Liberals trail at 21

TORONTO — The New Democrats have the same 37 per cent voter… Continue reading

Red Deer councillor says addicts have accepted death as an outcome of lifestyle

Buck Buchanan says “no one wants that to happen”

Local athletes shine on the track at CASAA Zone Track and Field Championships

Lindsay Thurber Raiders athlete Hayley Lalor was the winner in the senior girls individual aggregate

Ovechkin, Holtsby shine in Game 7, Caps beat Lightning

Capitals 4 Lightning 0 ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Ovechkin scored early… Continue reading

B.C.’s Horgan defends fight to both retain and restrict Alberta oil imports

YELLOWKNIFE — B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is fighting to both… Continue reading

Media are not an arm of the police, Vice lawyer tells Supreme Court hearing

OTTAWA — Journalists are not an investigative arm of the police, a… Continue reading

PHOTOS: Red Deer kids learning baseball skills

Red Deer Minor Baseball Rally Cap players practice in Bower Wednesday

Lacombe receives award for contribution to recreation

City received the William Matcalfe Award for major renovations to the Gary Moe Auto Group Sportsplex

‘Knees-together’ judge can practise law again

Former judge Robin Camp allowed to practise law again: Law Society of Alberta

Photo: Roundabout action on 67th Street

Construction season is in full force

Alberta demands all-party support for pipeline at western premiers meeting

Leaders from western Canadian provinces, territories holding a morning meeting today in Yellowknife

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month