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

Campbell River teen on the mend a year later

Jonah Shankar’s treatment for brain tumour involved trips to UK

Skipping school costs a dozen Vancouver Island students chance at a new car

Cowichan Secondary’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

Province steps up for Island toddler’s treatment

Lake Cowichan’s Charleigh Fales only one in B.C. diagnosed with rare CLN2 Batten disease

Average housing prices would have to drop by $413,000 for Victoria to become affordable

Alternatively, salaries need to increase to $134,000 per year, more than double current levels

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Oak Bay mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Jury to make recommendations based on death of Elliot Eurchuk, 16

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Sproat Lake fire held today, but not yet under control

Two-hectare fire is located at Taylor Flats close to Highway 4 west of Alberni

New secondary school planned for north Langford

Province announces $18.6 million in funding for site

Victoria mandates 20 per cent of large new housing developments be affordable

After years of back and forth, inclusionary housing policy will be ratified in two weeks

Man suffers burns, dog dies in fire in Nanaimo

Structure burns down on Clifford Road property in Cedar

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Most Read