Pubdate: Wed, 30 Aug 2017
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Jon Willing
Page: A7


A Lowertown park shouldn't be the site of a pop-up supervised
injection tent, Mayor Jim Watson said Tuesday, but it's not clear if
the city is willing to pull up its stakes if the organizers don't move
the health service to the only licensed facility.

"My hope is they'll be reasonable, work in a collaborative fashion
with the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre that has the legal
authority to operate the secure injection site," Watson said in the
heart of the By Ward Market, about five blocks from the injection tent
at Raphael Brunet Park.

Overdose Prevention Ottawa set up the injection tent in the city park
last Friday.

The group says there's an immediate need for this kind of facility,
even though the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre has a federal
exemption to operate a supervised injectionsite and is working to get
the service up and running.

Dozens of people have so far used the tent to inject their

The Sandy Hill health centre has reached out to Overdose Prevention
Ottawa to offer its Nelson Street facility for supervised injections.
There's no word yet if the group will accept the offer. Watson hopes
the injection service will soon move to the Sandy Hill health centre.
He wouldn't say if the city would kick out Overdose Prevention Ottawa
from the park.

"We're going to work for an amicable solution, that's the first
priority," Watson said.

"The reality is, I think it does not do a lot of good to the movement
when you have a group that has a legitimate right to a federal licence
and then a group that just comes up and says, 'Well, we're going to
operate a pop-up site.' I think it should go to the site that has the
federal authority to help these people in our community."

Watson said it's not fair to the neighbourhood to have its community
park "taken over."

While Overdose Prevention Ottawa is "well-meaning" with a noble
purpose, Watson said "everyone in the country has to follow the rule
of law."

"My hope is they work collaboratively and not be situated in a park
which is used by kids and is right next door to a community centre
that has summer camp programs," Watson said.
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