A Parksville resident was alarmed to find needles left in a forested area near Springwood Elementary School in 2019. (Submitted photo)

A Parksville resident was alarmed to find needles left in a forested area near Springwood Elementary School in 2019. (Submitted photo)

Parksville mayor jabs Island Health for needle issue inaction

Mayne tells officials problem is getting worse

Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne has expressed his disappointment with the lack of support received from Island Health and the Ministry of Health regarding a problem with needles in the city.

During Monday’s (Sept. 20) city council meeting, Dr. Sandra Allison, medical health officer for central Vancouver Island, presented to council post-pandemic considerations for Parksville. Mayne asked if anyone would be speaking on the issues of needles.

James Hanson, Island Health vice-president, clinical operations for central/north Vancouver Island, said while they had not intended to speak on the needle situation in Parksville, there were three direct actions around harm reduction.

READ MORE: Parksville council to meet with Island Health official to talk hypodermic needle regulation

“One of which was to work with our providers and those in the space to reduce the volume, and discourage the waste of needles in the community. That has occured,” said Hanson. “One of the other actions that we took was working with city staff around collection sites. So we’ve taken that action. And the third action, of course, was to have Dr. Allison present from a public health perspective on what were considering endemic activities as a system.”

“We want a conversation,” said Mayne. “This problem is getting worse. It’s not getting better. Every year since we’ve been here, the numbers have increased. And you can talk to me all you want about, ‘oh, we need more pickup sites,’ and all that. It’s nonsense.”

READ MORE: Parksville mayor says lack of movement on needle bylaw ‘frustrating as hell’

Mayne advised he was speaking on his own behalf, and not on the behalf of council.

“You want us to do all these things for you, and yet somebody can’t even come and sit down across the table and have a conversation with us.”

He mentioned that a previous meeting scheduled in May had been delayed until the current meeting so that both parties could meet in-person, ‘but still ended up with a virtual situation.’

No further comments were made by Hanson during the meeting to address concerns about the needle situation.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

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City CouncilIsland HealthMinistry of HealthParksville