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Sask. government won’t give extra money for consumption site policing: minister

Sask. government won’t give extra money for consumption site policing: minister
The Saskatchewan government “funds areas that are of mutual provincial priority and not strictly a local concern,” according to Christine Tell. File / Global News

Policing at Saskatoon’s supervised drug consumption site won’t get a funding boost from the provincial government, according to the minister of corrections and policing.

In a letter to the chair of Saskatoon’s Board of Police Commissioners, Christine Tell said the City of Saskatoon is responsible for providing the proper resources.

“The provincial government funds areas that are of mutual provincial priority and not strictly a local concern,” reads the minister’s letter dated Nov. 20.

READ MORE: Saskatoon supervised consumption site opening pushed back

The Saskatchewan government gave the Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) $4.9 million in municipal police grants in 2019, Tell stated.

“We understand that there has been challenges around other supervised consumption sites across Western Canada,” Tell said.

“While we appreciate those challenges, the City of Saskatoon is ultimately responsible for deciding how to best distribute its resources.”

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The correspondence comes in response to an Oct. 18 letter from the police board seeking support for policing around the site.

Last month, the SPS received additional funding from the city for eight officers to patrol the area around the site in the Pleasant Hill neighbourhood.

Must needed items for AIDS Saskatoon holiday hampers
Must needed items for AIDS Saskatoon holiday hampers

AIDS Saskatoon’s site is expected to open in spring 2020.

Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter has previously stated the government will consider whether to help fund the site itself in upcoming budget talks.

AIDS Saskatoon is seeking $1.3 million from the Saskatchewan Health Authority to cover overhead and staffing costs.

The minister’s letter is on the agenda for Thursday’s police board meeting.

-With files from The Canadian Press