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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island’s current COVID-19 case count officially hits zero

Of the 130 recorded Island Health cases, five people have died, 125 recovered

Iconic white raven returns to Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Photographer John Domovich: ‘It blew me away when I first observed it’

Qualicum Beach man arrested over racist incident at Tseshaht First Nation

Port Alberni RCMP said the man turned himself in

COVID-19: City of Parksville announces gradual re-opening plan

Sports courts and playgrounds to open June 5

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Alert Bay resident carves tribute to his community kicking COVID-19’s butt

‘Our little village crushed the curve with love and commitment’

Lithium-ion battery fire damages suite in Nanaimo

One man displaced from home after battery for radio-controlled toy bursts into flame while charging

End of an Era: Tofino hair studio closes shop

“We were getting excited to start ramping up and then all of sudden we had to close our doors.”

Kelowna Mountie on desk duty following ‘aggressive’ arrest

The officer involved in an arrest that took place on May 30 in Kelowna has been placed on administrative duties

Protests shift to memorializing George Floyd amid push for change

‘There is something better on the other side of this,’ says Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom

Most Read