Pubdate: Wed, 21 Jun 2017
Source: Montreal Gazette (CN QU)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Claire Loewen
Page: A6


On school corridor and feared too close to Marguerite-Bourgeoys

Parents at a downtown Montreal elementary school say a safe-injection
site in their neighbourhood should be moved.

In September, Spectre de rue, an intervention centre for drug users,
will begin operating a supervised injection site. The centre is on the
corner of Ontario St. and Visitation Ave., about 200 metres from the
Marguerite-Bourgeoys elementary school.

The parents are circulating a petition calling for the site to be
moved to a location outside of the school corridor, a route designated
by the city for children to walk safely to school.

The online petition currently has 230 supporters.

"Two of my children attend this school, and I think it's a bit too
close," said Iris Le Bescond, a Marguerite-Bourgeoys parent whose
children are seven and 10. "It's not appropriate." While those pushing
the petition acknowledged the societal benefits of safe-injection
sites, they said Spectre's administration did not get the school's
approval before finalizing their decision to open a supervised
injection site.

The school was informed the site would be put in place on May 4,
according to Christelle Perrine, a mother of two children at

A month later, the school's parents invited Montreal police, the
Direction de sante publique de Montreal and Spectre's administration
to talk about the project, but the group did not address how the site
would integrate into its environment, Perrine said.

"We asked the groups to see if they looked at alternative sites. The
answer was, Spectre is already there," she said.

Perrine noted that last week, while on a field trip with her
daughter's class in the Old Port, a man who was visibly inebriated
approached the group of children and bothered one of their mothers.

"It happens. When you bring in a safe-injection site, you augment the
probability of unpredictable events," she said.

Perrine said the neighbourhood around Beaudry metro has improved
greatly during the last 10 years.

But parents said they sometimes still find syringes on the ground in
the neighbourhood.

Spectre already operates as an intervention centre that serves the
same sort of clientele found at most safe-injection sites.

Carole Morissette, the medical chief at Direction de sante publique de
Montreal and the person in charge of implementing SIS in Montreal,
said Spectre de rue's plan to begin offering safe injection services
has been public knowledge since 2011.

The centre has been there since 1993, and there has never been a
complaint or incident, according to Morissette.

"They've always had a great relationship with the neighbourhood,"
Morissette said.

She added it's possible that recent media coverage of safeinjection
sites is making parents worried.

Currently, clients can enter Spectre de rue and collect material with
which to inject drugs - usually done in nearby parks, Morissette said.

The safe-injection room will allow users to be safer, supervised and
out of sight of children.

Their needles and other materials will no longer be found outside,
Morissette added.

Two other safe-injection sites opened in Montreal Monday - one is on
Berger St. in the downtown area and the other is a mobile unit that
operates at night.
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