Interior Health delays Vernon overdose prevention site - InfoNews

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Interior Health delays Vernon overdose prevention site

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
April 08, 2019 - 3:51 PM

VERNON - Interior Health has announced it will do more consultation and will delay the process of bringing an overdose prevention site to Vernon.

A media release from Interior Health says it will cancel the current request for proposals, to allow for further consultation. Interior Health will contact key stakeholders in Vernon to discuss how the service will be designed and resubmit the request for proposals at a later date.

Vernon councillor Scott Anderson said during today's, April 8, council meeting Interior Health's decision to pause for more consultation showed what council could achieve when they applied pressure.

"I would hope that this goes up the chain and the ministry gets the message,” Anderson said.

Coun. Brian Quiring echoed Anderson's comments saying the extra consultation was "encouraging."

"We voiced our concerns and they are reacting to our concerns," Quiring added.

According to council documents, Interior Health intends to reach out to key community stakeholders, including the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, first responders and the Downtown Vernon Association. However, councillors were critical that the public, city council and adjacent property owners were left off the list.

After much discussion, council passed a motion to add adjacent property owners within 100 metres of an overdose prevention site, the public and city councillors to the list of stakeholders for Interior Health to have "meaningful" consultation with.

Interior Health representatives came under strong criticism from members of Vernon council in March, when they presented plans to open a safe injection site would be built in Vernon. Under provincial rules, council would not be able to block the opening of a safe injection site in the city.

Interior Health says it does not want to delay the opening a safe injection site, and adds its "goal is to establish a successful overdose prevention service that meets the needs of diverse community groups."

There are over 30 overdose prevention sites in the province and within the Interior Health region overdose prevention sites exist in Kamloops, Kelowna and Nelson.


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