Pubdate: Sat, 30 Sep 2017
Source: Ottawa Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 Canoe Limited Partnership
Author: Aedan Helmer
Page: 5


A pop-up injection site on the edge of the ByWard Market is drawing
mixed reviews from Lowertown residents, landlords and business owners.

An anonymous flyer circulated this week in the area, and shared widely
on social media, claims the "unsanctioned and illegal" site operated
by Overdose Prevention Ottawa has led to sharp increases in drug
dealing, public intoxication, public disorder and discarded needles
and other drug paraphernalia littering the downtown streets.

However, there is no evidence those claims are true.

"We've seen no increase (in incidents), no change to our call volume
in that area," Ottawa police Const. Marc Soucy said after consultation
with units that patrol Lowertown and the Market,

The flyer, which urges residents to express their concerns to Coun.
Mathieu Fleury, Mayor Jim Watson and police Chief Charles Bordeleau,
advises business owners in the vicinity to either close shop during
the site's operating hours - from 5 to 9 p.m. daily - or hire private
security "to protect your staff and customers."

The Upward Dog yoga studio, at the opposite end of the block from the
site at Raphael Brunet Park on St. Patrick Street, has no such plans.

"No one has noticed any changes here at Upward Dog. We haven't had any
comments from our clients and we've experienced nothing unusual or
unsettling in our reception area or in our classes. It's yoga as usual
here," said instructor Debbie A 'pop-up' supervised injection site in
Raphael Brunet Park has not been popular with some Lowertown
residents. Brown. The yoga studio remains open from 6:30 a.m. to 9
p.m. weekdays.

Melanie Tayler, owner of the Neon Skates shop, steps from the site on
St. Patrick Street, said she found the flyer's warnings "curious."

"I've seen a bit of change, but it's more people who are coming into
the store who are maybe waiting for the site to open. I don't feel
ill-at-ease or anything, but yeah, the clientele has changed a little
bit in the neighbourhood," said Tayler.

"I'm not here in the late hours (the shop closes at 6 p.m.), but I
have never come across a needle or seen anything like that I'm torn,
because I understand the necessity for the site, clearly it's a needed
resource, but it is having at least a minor effect on the

Several residents described the site's impact as something more than

Ryan Greer, who lives across the street from the site, snapped a photo
of children hanging out with volunteers near the tents. It is not
known whether any illegal drugs were being used at the time.

"The city and (Ottawa police) have been told repeatedly from numerous
residents that we have witnessed kids approaching the tents. It has
apparently not been concerning enough for them to start enforcing the
law at this park," said Greer, who accused city officials, police and
Overdose Prevention Ottawa of showing "a complete disregard for the
concerns of the nearby residents being impacted by the site."

Sam Duncan owns one of the apartment units across the street from the
park, and said one of his longtime tenants was prompted to move out
recently over safety concerns, after witnessing a drug user "shooting
up" in the building's back alley.

"They loved the unit, the community and the neighbours but do not feel
safe right now," Duncan said of his former tenants.

"It is utterly disappointing that in our nation's capital, where the
laws of our land are crafted, that the police are refusing to uphold
the law and our leaders are refusing to provide any explanation to
community," he said.
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