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Tomkins Park toilets seeing more drug use: Calgary councillor

A photo of the automated public toilets at Tomkins Park, dated May 2017.
A photo of the automated public toilets at Tomkins Park, dated May 2017. Google Maps

A Calgary councillor is raising concerns about the on-the-ground impact of a committee’s recommendation to “take a step back” on the city’s mental health and addictions strategy.

On Wednesday, the community services committee forwarded recommendations to council that mayor’s office reach out to the province to coordinate strategies dealing with mental health and addictions in the city. The coordination of efforts could help city administration find cuts in the city’s operating budget.

READ MORE: Calgary committee takes a “step back” on moving towards a mental health strategy

Crime has spiked in the area around the supervised consumption site at the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre, Ward 8 councillor Evan Woolley said on Monday, and in locations in the Beltline.

“One such situation is in and around Tomkins Park on 17th Avenue S.W.,” Woolley said Monday in a council meeting.

“A number of the business owners are expressing concerns around the automated public toilet.”

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Woolley said the public toilet is being used to consume drugs.

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Woolley also said that issue would have been addressed by the city’s previous mental health and addictions strategy, which now faces the chopping block.

“There was obviously disappointment last week with the motion to halt our long-term strategic work. What is also really, really important is some of the short-term tactical things that are arising in order for us to address specific situations.”

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Calgary community services general manager Katie Black said the city is monitoring the use of the public toilets in Tomkins Park.

“[The city is] assessing how this fits with that we understand about public toilets in other parts of Calgary,” Black said. “Also what’s happening in other parts of the world in terms of how we work to make sure our communities can be safe and vibrant places for all of us.

“So we will be pursuing this.”

WATCH: Recovering addicts, surviving loved ones call on UCP to restore supervised consumption site funding

Recovering addicts, surviving loved ones call on UCP to restore supervised consumption site funding
Recovering addicts, surviving loved ones call on UCP to restore supervised consumption site funding

The automated public toilet in Tomkins Park was installed in 2008.

Public toilets in nearby East Village are locked unless there are public events in the area.

— with files from Aurelio Perri