Calgary supervised consumption site given 1-year extension by Health Canada

Spike in crime around Calgary supervised consumption site leads to questions about resources
WATCH: New statistics show a spike in crime and disorder around Calgary's supervised consumption site. Nancy Hixt reports on how officials are working improve the situation.

Following questions about resources at Calgary’s supervised consumption site in the downtown core, Health Canada has renewed the facility’s operation for another year.

The future of the site, opened at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre in the Beltline neighbourhood in October 2017, was called into question earlier this week after a scathing report from the Calgary Police Service showed a dramatic spike in crime around the facility.

READ MORE: Spike in crime around Calgary supervised consumption site leads to questions about resources

Most notably, police reported a 276 per cent increase in drug-related calls and a 47 per cent increase in violence within a 250-metre buffer zone around the clinic.

That report was taken into consideration in Health Canada’s decision, the federal agency said in a news release on Thursday.

Health Canada put conditions on the on the renewal, including addressing needle debris, public disorder and issues raised around neighbourhood safety that came out of the CPS report.

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The extension will be reviewed in four months, Health Canada said.

Officials will continue monitoring the site, ensuring it adheres to the outlined conditions, Health Canada said, adding it has the authority to impose terms and conditions or revoke a supervised consumption site if need be.

“While most evidence suggests that the presence of a supervised consumption site in a community does not result in an increase in crime, Health Canada takes the report of the Calgary Police Services seriously,” the agency said.

“The department will continue to work with the Sheldon M. Chumir facility, as well as the province of Alberta, to support life-saving services for those struggling with problematic substance use, while addressing the need to safeguard the safety and security of the community.”