Pubdate: Sat, 23 Sep 2017
Source: Ottawa Citizen (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Jon Willing
Page: A9


Organization considering how it could transport clients to supervised

The Salvation Army isn't planning a supervised injection site for the
shelter and health complex it has proposed for Vanier, but the
organization is putting thought into how it could transport clients to
those licensed facilities.

While the topic has come up in public, Salvation Army spokesman Glenn
van Gulik said the organization has no intention of running an
injection site if it receives planning approval for the project at 333
Montreal Rd.

Van Gulik said the Salvation Army has been considering how it could
use its transportation services to bring clients to a supervised
injection site if they need that harm-reduction service. The Salvation
Army wouldn't simply show clients to the street if they need to use
drugs, he said.

"We wouldn't be leaving people in a lurch," van Gulik

The Salvation Army's plan is to relocate its services on George Street
in the ByWard Market to Montreal Road in Vanier.

The Sandy Hill Community Health Centre is the only facility that has a
federal exemption to run a supervised injection site. Ottawa Inner
City Health at the Shepherds of Good Hope and the Somerset West
Community Health Centre have applications at Health Canada.

Moving the Salvation Army facility east to Vanier would make those
injection facilities less accessible to drug users. The Sandy Hill
health centre is about three blocks from the current Salvation Army
facility on George Street.

David Gibson, executive director of the Sandy Hill health centre, is
skeptical about any plans that use transportation services to bring
clients to a supervised injection site.

"People don't schedule when to inject," Gibson said.

There are still several years to consider a harm-reduction strategy
for drug users. The Salvation Army wants to break ground in 2019 if it
receives the municipal land-use approval.

Isra Levy, Ottawa's medical officer of health, said there shouldn't be
an assumption that Vanier would need a supervised injection site if
the Salvation Army relocates its shelter, health and social services
to the community.

"I don't think that I'd tie those together at all," Levy said. "We
know that drug use is something that happens throughout this community
and all sorts of economic groups. We do know people who are homeless
have particularly special needs, but those needs are not only needs
around addiction."

Levy said he hasn't analyzed the proposed location for the Salvation
Army's project. The most important thing is providing the services for
people who need them, he said.

"There may be economies-of-scale issues where there's some perfect
point in the size of a grouping of people, but for me the much more
critical question is what services are needed and will they be
provided," Levy said.

The Salvation Army is proposing a $50-million complex that would have
140 emergency shelter beds and 210 additional beds for specific
programs, such as addictions counselling and other health services.

While the Salvation Army considers it a multi-service "community hub,"
opponents who live in Vanier consider it an unwelcome

Van Gulik said the Salvation Army is poring over comments it received
during an open house on Sept. 13 with the intention of filing a second
planning submission to city hall. The Salvation Army could make
adjustments to its original plan, he said.

The city this week published a report summarizing 347 public comments
received as of Aug. 31 on the Salvation Army's development
application. Of all the comments, 310 people either were opposed to
the proposal or had concerns. Five people were in support.

People expressed concerns about the proposed location, size of the
development, safety impacts, transportation impacts, planning process
and the land-use rules for the property.
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