Neighbours raise concerns about overdose prevention site on Trunk Road. (File photo)

Theft, drugs, aggression and public sex plaguing Duncan overdose prevention site?

Neighbours demand action due to nuisance and possibly criminal behaviour around facility

Neighbours of Duncan’s overdose prevention site are organizing to try to deal with concerns around the facility.

Mike Kelly, who lives close to the OPS, said many of the neighbours, both residential and businesses, feel the socio-economic costs of the OPS are being largely ignored.

“Since the Duncan OPS opened on Trunk Road (in April 2018), local residents and businesses have experienced theft, trespass, overnight vagrancy, loitering, trash and needle littering, loud and lewd aggressive behaviour on the streets, outdoor daytime sexual activity, off-site drug injection, and drug dealing,” Kelly said.

“In short, (we’re experiencing) nuisance and possible criminal behaviours that were rare to non-existent in our neighbourhood prior to opening the OPS. These are policy consequences that the neighbourhood focused at Trunk Road and Ypres Street is expected to bear without compensation or complaint.”

The overdose prevention site is intended to provide a place where people who use drugs can do so while being safely monitored and treated immediately if they overdose.

RELATED STORY: LONG-AWAITED OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE OPENS IN DUNCAN

The site is part of the province’s response to the opioid overdose emergency that has gripped B.C. in recent years, and is one of nine that has opened on the Island since December, 2016.

Island Health is reporting that since the site, which originally operated at 714 Canada Ave. until it moved to 221 Trunk Rd., first opened, more than 22,000 clients have visited, 150 overdoses have been reversed and zero deaths have occurred.

Last month, Island Health extended its lease on the OPS site in Duncan with the Cowichan Valley branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association until Nov. 30, 2019.

RELATED STORY: ANOTHER YEAR ADDED TO DUNCAN’S OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE

The new lease agreement states that the Canadian Mental Health Association is committed to a respectful, safe and secure operation of the OPS, and to fostering good neighbour relationships with those who live and work near this service.

This includes discouraging congregation in and around the site, and having staff security patrols during open hours and contracted security patrols when the OPS is closed.

Kelly said the neighbours intend to organize, with the support of local law enforcement resources, a neighbourhood Block Watch program, and a Good Neighbour Agreement which the CMHA is bound by its contract with Island Health to negotiate and enter.

“We believe this two prong strategy will lead to a more secure and strengthened Ypres/Trunk neighbourhood and Duncan/North Cowichan community,” he said.

Lisa Murphy, a spokeswoman for Island Health, said in a statement that the OPS is a vital service and Island Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association want to ensure the service is a good neighbour that responds appropriately if and when concerns arise.

RELATED STORY: NEIGHBOURS SAY DUNCAN OVERDOSE PREVENTION SITE A BLIGHT

“We recognize there are some questions and concerns over where harm reduction services are situated,” she said.

“With support from Island Health, service providers like the CMHA work with local communities to build understanding for the need for the service, and will work collaboratively with our partners to reduce neighbourhood impact.”

Murphy said the application from the CMHA to operate the OPS, the only one received, was fully assessed against criteria included in the RFP to ensure it met requirements related to stakeholder and community engagement, client care and safety, connection to other community supports and treatment providers, to name a few.

“We welcome ongoing neighbourhood involvement around the OPS,” Murphy said.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Celebration of Life hosted for 29 Victoria trees set to be removed

Community Trees Matter Network hosting “goodbye and thank you” for trees on Fort Street

Head of Greater Victoria builders warns of changing construction climate

VRBA director Casey Edge also questions Saanich’s commitment towards housing affordability

Saanich police are looking for a man who exposed himself Saturday night

The incident exposure happened at the intersection of Feltham Road and Shelbourne Street

Saanich councillor raises the possibility of charging for plugging in electric vehicles

Coun. Colin Plant said funds raised could help build EV infrastructure

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit returns to Royal BC Museum

Exhibit will feature award-winning photographers from around the world

VIDEO: Hundreds enjoy lunar eclipse through UVic telescopes

Rare “super blood wolf moon” allows a closer glimpse at the moon’s surface

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

2019 Canadian Whisky Awards’ big winners announced

Awards held in conjunction with Victoria Whisky Festival

Most Read