Boyle Street Community Services (BSCS) said it is still going to move forward with its supervised consumption site in the Ritchie neighbourhood despite losing a development permit.
The city’s subdevelopment and appeal board (SDAB) revoked BSCS’s class-A development permit due to overlooking an accessibility requirement in the application.
The building requires a ramp, and once one is installed, the agency said it plans to move forward with the project.
While BSCS called this a “setback,” it said it was encouraged that the decision classifies the supervised consumption site (SCS) as a health service.
“One of the pivotal questions that was being asked of the SDAB was whether these services were in fact health services, and we heard unequivocally from the SDAB today that they are,” said BSCS spokesperson Elliott Tanti.
“It’s good news for this location and any future locations we may decide to pursue for these services.”
The social agency said it was committed to fixing its application and will continue through the proper channels to ensure the health hub moves forward.
Tanti said the delay while a ramp is installed will be weeks rather than months.
BSCS has said previously that it was tasked by the provincial government to create a health hub south of the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton.
The health hub, which will include a SCS and recovery and treatment services, was slated for the Ritchie area because people there are dying of drug overdoses and there aren’t any SCSs nearby to help prevent that, BSCS said.
The health hub has faced some opposition from people living and operating businesses nearby, who say they fear an increase in crime, a decrease in safety and a destruction of the neighbourhood.
Results from a survey commissioned by the provincial government shows that 82 per cent of Edmontonians and 63 per cent of business owners are supportive of a SCS in the area of their home or business.
Respondents who live or have a business near a SCS said there was no increase in behaviours like open drug use, drug dealing, urinating or defecating in public, erratic behaviour and violent acts.
Deaths from drug poisonings reached a new high in April 2023, the most recent month for which data is available, according to data collected by the province.
More than 600 Albertans have died from an overdose so far this year, the province said.