Thursday , June 8 2023

The public hearing of Marathon is delaying the Council's response to supervised consumption


One thing is clear after a public hearing on Tuesday night: Red Deerians can not agree on where the supervised consumption services should go.

The Red Deer City Council heard the audience for about four hours, then postponed its debates and final decision on an integral request from the Turning Point until November 26.

The proposal – if passed – would give Turning Point the opportunity not only to relocate but to open the permanent SCS on 5233-54 avenue in the Railyards area, which is housed between Downtown, Capstone (Riverlands) and the river itself.

"No one in this room wants people to die," said Gayle Leasak, owner of Pegasus Builders, who is in the process of manufacturing not far from the site.

"During construction, since the overdose prevention site (on October 1st), we had three more fences, we had stolen propane bottles and RCMP can not do anything. There is so much damage from people in this area now and we do not even have supervised consumer services there yet. "

Leasak, whose son Blake is trying to bring the table games store to the area, said he should seriously consider hiring a bouncer-like place if he wanted to keep plans to stay open until 1 m. m. This is because the people who will be in the area for the SCS, he explained.

Perhaps an organization with the most to lose is the Central Albert Chains Archers Association, whose chairman says the club will end if the board approves what's on the table.

"We see the needles, we see the bicycle parts, the fishing trolleys, we are looking at the proposal and there will be someone responsible for cleaning the drug waste, but who is responsible for cleaning up the rest?" Said Walter Wiley, whose facility serves as a competitive venue for many young athletes hoping to be selected for Alberta games and even for Canadian games. "We have worked very hard to get where we are. How is this law for us? "

Wiley also noted that the club is in its current location, which is next to the proposed location, for nine years and could only get the appropriate licenses from the city to be there after having made $ 40,000 in renovations.

On the sidelines, those who are in favor of the proposal – especially those with the Turning Point – insist that there will be stable security as well as better lighting, fencing and a new sidewalk that will be installed to help prevent crime with environmental planning.

Alberta Health Services Health Minister for the central zone Dr. Daniel Edgcumbe, as well as senior officer Allan Sinclair, as well as many other medical practitioners and practitioners, were also close to the Turning Point side or spoke afterwards in support of the proposal.

Among many citizens to express their support was Ian Vaughan, who noted the high number of overdose deaths in the last year, which he said happened while Red Deer sat in her hands.

"They may not like their choices, but that's the case, I'm not a referee of life and death, and nobody's here," he said. "You can not send someone to a deadly treatment. I do not understand the hostility towards people who just need some help. No, it's not a response that will work for this problem. I'm tired of hate. I'm tired of people saying that this is an issue we do not have to talk about. "

It was mentioned during the hearing by Dr. Michael Mulholland, who is working as a medical doctor for the Safe Harbor Detoxication Program, said there were 40 overdose deaths by 2018 so far, only in Red Deer, including four last week.

The latest statistics from Alberta Health show that the Red Deer and the Central Zone have some, if not the highest, death rates of overdose of opiates anywhere in the province.

Altogether, the council heard from around 29 citizens at the public hearing on Tuesday.

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