April 20, 2024

Since opening in 2021, the Seymour prevention web site has been the topic of many complaints and two separate court docket challenges filed in opposition to town alleging elevated crime and dysfunction.

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The Metropolis of Vancouver has determined to not renew the lease of a controversial supervised consumption web site downtown following two years of neighbours’ complaints about public dysfunction and crime.

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The transfer is being welcomed by some neighbourhood residents and defended by politicians with Vancouver’s majority ABC occasion. However critics say the choice might put lives in danger.

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The town leases the ground-floor area in a constructing on the nook of Seymour and Helmcken streets to Vancouver Coastal Well being for an overdose prevention web site, or OPS, which is operated by the native non-profit RainCity Housing and Help Society.

The power is supposed to supply a safer setting for individuals to make use of medicine as an unregulated poisonous provide continues to kill British Columbians at file charges. However because the web site opened in 2021, it has been the topic of many complaints and at the very least two separate court docket challenges filed in opposition to town by neighbours alleging elevated crime and dysfunction.

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In a letter despatched final week to Coastal Well being, Sandra Singh, Vancouver normal supervisor of arts, tradition and neighborhood providers, wrote that town “won’t be ready to resume the lease” when it expires in March 2024.

The town is “very supportive of hurt discount providers resembling OPSes” and “acknowledges the numerous function they play in lowering danger of loss of life resulting from overdose,” Singh wrote. “Whereas this location has confirmed unviable for sustained operations,” she wrote, town appears ahead to serving to Coastal Well being discover areas for well being providers the place possible.

The Seymour overdose prevention web site was accepted in October 2020 by Vancouver’s earlier council. 4 councillors voted in opposition to executing the lease settlement with Coastal Well being for the ability, together with Couns. Lisa Dominato and Sarah Kirby-Yung, who have been each re-elected final 12 months to second phrases representing ABC. The opposite second-term ABC councillor, Rebecca Bligh, voted in favour of the lease in 2020.

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First-term ABC Coun. Peter Meiszner has lengthy been vocal about what he sees because the Seymour facility’s destructive have an effect on on the neighbourhood. On Monday, he stated the choice in regards to the lease was made by metropolis employees and never council, however he believes it was the correct name.

Meiszner stated that metropolis employees determined to not renew the lease as a result of the ability’s operators “have been very unresponsive to the issues of the neighborhood about what was taking place outdoors the location,” together with individuals tenting on the sidewalk.

Meiszner, who lives within the neighbourhood, stated he receives every day emails from space residents complaining in regards to the property. He believes that whereas the ability is saving lives, it’s not correctly managed and the area is simply too small and ill-suited for the aim.

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He hopes Coastal Well being can discover a higher location for an overdose prevention web site within the Yaletown or Downtown South space earlier than the lease expires subsequent March. He stated. “It’s VCH’s determination … I’m not concerned in that course of in any respect. VCH must discover a location earlier than the lease expires.”

OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle criticized the lease determination, saying that merely hoping Coastal Well being finds a brand new location isn’t a sufficiently severe response from the bulk ABC occasion contemplating the excessive stakes.

“What I’m calling for is the mayor and ABC to decide to protecting this area open till there’s a brand new location, in order that we don’t see a disruption in providers that results in extra deaths,” Boyle stated.

“I acknowledge it hasn’t been clean for the neighbourhood. And in addition, it’s a service that’s saving lives of individuals within the neighbourhood. Each of these issues are true,” Boyle stated.

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“However we’d like a plan in place.”

RainCity didn’t reply to requests for remark earlier than deadline Monday.

In an emailed assertion, Vancouver Coastal Well being stated it’s “disillusioned” by town’s determination to not renew the lease.

Inhabitants well being knowledge confirmed that the world by which the Seymour web site is positioned data the second highest variety of overdose deaths yearly within the Coastal Well being area, after the Downtown Eastside, the assertion stated. “VCH has an obligation to look after the well being of all residents in our area. Within the time it’s been open, this OPS has saved many lives and linked individuals liable to overdose to important health-care helps and providers.”

Coastal Well being “has begun the method of figuring out a brand new location close by for these life-saving providers,” the assertion stated.

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In Could, a subsidiary of Wall Monetary Corp., which owns the house constructing beside the Seymour overdose prevention web site, filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Courtroom searching for an order cancelling the ability’s lease.

The next month, the identical property proprietor, together with a neighbourhood resident, filed a proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf of space residents and companies, searching for damages and alleging the “ham-fisted operation and oversight of the small, poorly suited” web site had turned the world into “a centre level for crime and public dysfunction.”

The consultant plaintiff for the proposed class-action, neighbourhood resident Michael Wilson, stated Monday that whereas he was glad to be taught of town’s determination to not renew the lease at Seymour Road, the lawsuit was nonetheless persevering with and he hadn’t but determined whether or not to discontinue it.

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