Vernon councillor to present petition opposing overdose prevention site - InfoNews

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Vernon councillor to present petition opposing overdose prevention site

May 27, 2019 - 1:56 PM

VERNON - Coun. Scott Anderson will present a petition at today's city council meeting with over 300 signatures opposing the opening of an overdose prevention site in downtown Vernon.

Anderson said he will present a petition to city council today, May 27, that asks the Interior Health Authority not to open its planned overdose prevention site within Vernon's primary and secondary business improvement areas.

"This initiative comes directly from the grassroots, business and property owners who are fighting to survive economically in an increasingly disruptive environment, as well as concerned citizens who have every right to expect safety downtown," Anderson said in a media release.

Calgary's safe injection site and the Cornerstone establishment in Kelowna created a "massive spike in crime" when they opened, he said.

"If IHA is going to open an OPS (overdose prevention site), it should be far away from a downtown already suffering from increased lawlessness, vagrancy and drug sales," Anderson said.

He said the Vernon Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association and the majority of council have asked Interior Health to locate the overdose prevention site outside the downtown business improvement area, and propose the Vernon Jubilee Hospital as a better site.

"The hospital has all the resources and a full spectrum support infrastructure available right on site... it fulfills all the criteria demanded by IHA, including IHA's advertised goal of balancing the needs of all stakeholders," he said.

"I'll be frankly shocked if IHA ignores the wishes of most stakeholders. I think everyone wants to help addicted folks, but there has to be a balance between IHA's harm reduction measures and the impact of those measures on everyone else."

Anderson said he was asked by a local downtown business owner to present the petition that was signed by business owners and concerned residents.

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