Duncan’s overdose prevention site will move to this location on 221 Trunk Rd. on April 7. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

New Duncan overdose prevention site draws public debate

“I think no matter where it is the community will have a negative response.”

The controversial overdose prevention site located at 715 Canada Ave. is moving and feedback has been strong — not just about the location but about the very existence of the service.

Dr. Shannon Waters, a medical health officer with Island Health, said the site will move to a leased location at 221 Trunk Rd., across from Duncan Mall, on April 7.

She said the location on Canada Avenue, which opened Sept. 12, is “greatly exceeding site capacity” and, in addition, the current lease on the property has expired.

She noted the new site will provide more space while the search continues for an even more appropriate site.

But what exactly is appropriate?

“I think no matter where it is the community will have a negative response,” wrote Lena Williams on the Citizen’s website. “Residential areas. Schools and parks. It may be a safe injection site but still carries unsavory attraction to said areas.”

She was right about the response: a mix of compassion and anger.

Earl Simon Edwards saw a conundrum.

“At least its not around next door to childrens parks nor daycares or schools,” he noted. “Although a few blocks away, local businesses will be locking up bathrooms just like businesses around York does [sic] due to the addict traffic in the area.”

Some argued it was too close to the high school but in fact, it’s the same distance as the current site.

“What exactly are people afraid of this being near(ish) to the high school? Do you think that drug users attack people? People are going to use wherever they want, if we have an OPS [overdose prevention site] at least they have somewhere safe and off the streets to use,” said Stacy Middlemiss. “We need to stop hiding behind excuses of it being too close to this or that…truth is society doesn’t want it to exist period. I wish we didn’t need it either, but we do.”

Brenda Irving summed it up, saying “There will always be those who find fault with the location or the addicts themselves. Just be glad you aren’t one!”

—With files from Robert Barron

Just Posted

Drivesmart column: Taking cyclists seriously

This officer must have missed some important reading in their copy of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association’s $20K grant will help kids keep riding

Approximately 85-90 per cent of CTRA’s clients are children under the age of 18.

Robert Barron column: Elk poachers should be punished

I could only imagine the fate of these bozos if those east coast hunters ever got hold of them.

Cowichan Capitals fall to last in Island Division

Battle for fourth place goes to Alberni Valley

VIDEO: Christmas arrives in Cowichan with Celtic Rhythms, Summit Dance show

Bright costumes, seasonal music, happy faces: it was all there for everyone to enjoy

Coming up in Cowichan: From a kitchen party to a live nativity play

Stroke Recovery branch hosting an Open House Nova Scotia Kitchen Party The… Continue reading

Boeser scores 3, Pettersson has 5 points as Canucks hammer Blues

Vancouver picks up impressive 6-1 win in St. Louis

B.C. police stop drunk driver who offered up burger instead of ID

Roadblock checks over the weekend found at least two other impaired drivers

In Canada, the term ‘nationalism’ doesn’t seem to have a bad rap. Here’s why

Data suggest that Canadians don’t see the concept of nationalism the way people do in the United States

Small quake recorded west of Vancouver Island

No injuries or tsunami warning after 5.4 rumble felt some 400 kilometres from Victoria

B.C. suspends Chinese portion of Asian forestry trade mission due to Huawei arrest

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of U.S. in Vancouver

Canadians spent $1.7 billion dollars online in December 2017

Online retail sales accounted for 3.4 per cent of total retail sales

2-year investigations nets $900,000 in refunds for payday loan customers

Consumer Protection BC says selling practices were ‘aggressive and deceptive’

Most Read