Parksville’s mayor is upset with the lack of support received from Island Health and the Ministry of Health regarding a problem with needles in the city.
Ed Mayne used a Monday Island Health delegation to council — scheduled to discuss post-pandemic considerations — to express his disappointment over the lack of action by higher government on needles.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
Mayne advised he was speaking on his own behalf, and not on the behalf of council.
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.