There’s push back to Interior Health’s preferred location for a safe injection facility for intravenous drug users in Kelowna.
The agency is proposing it be downtown on Leon Avenue in the heart of the city’s illegal drug problem.
The mayor agrees a safe consumption facility should be somewhere downtown.
“But we want to make sure it isn’t going to attract more of the criminal element, and more of the users, and just serves the people who are already down here,” says Colin Basran.
Making a bad situation on Leon Avenue even worse is the fear of the Downtown Kelowna Association, which represents many businesses in the area.
“If they put it on Leon we’ll be strongly opposed to the site,” says DKA board president Dan Allen. “We want to revitalize and gentrify that street and I think a safe consumption site will impede any revitalization of that area.”
The mayor says he isn’t for or against the proposed Leon Avenue location.
“Interior Health will have to look through data and experiences of other places and make an informed decision based on data,” says Basran. “I want to be sure a factual decision is made not one based on anecdotal evidence. Let’s see what’s happened in other communities and let’s make a decision based on facts.”
Interior Health is seeking public input until December 15th before deciding whether to pursue Health Canada’s permission to establish a safe injection site on Leon avenue or at some other location.