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Calgary city council votes to study safety initiatives for downtown safe consumption site

A file photo of an injection kit.
A file photo of an injection kit. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Calgary city council has voted unanimously to take a look at a dozen actions that could lead to increased public safety around the safe consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre.

Councillor Evan Woolley said it’s natural to get angry emails from upset residents on various issues, however, what he’s getting from Beltline residents is a sense of fear and he said that is from people who were initially supportive of the safe consumption site.

Woolley and Councillor Diane Colley Urquhart have come up with 12 recommendations that include things such as daily needle cleanups and increased security. They are also asking Alberta Health Services to add additional on-site psychologists and psychiatrists that specialize in addictions and mental health.

“As someone who really supported the facility I support the incredible work that’s being undertaken by some of our best minds to address this problem,” Woolley said. “But it won’t be successful if we cannot keep the people that live in and around this community safe.”

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

WATCH BELOW: Tour of supervised consumption site

Tour of new supervised consumption site will be held on Friday
Tour of new supervised consumption site will be held on Friday

The councillors’ initiatives follow a recent police report about a spike in crime in the vicinity of the centre.

Councillor Peter Demong voted in favour of Woolley and Colley Urquhart’s initiatives but expressed concern about the city having to provide funding for the issues that were created by the province when the consumption site was opened.

“We’re basically having to clean up something a different level of government instituted,” Demong said.

A report will come to a city hall committee on Feb. 13 with an update and possible costs associated with the 12 initiatives.

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

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