Days after Premier Christy Clark said she had no plans to visit a pop-up injection site in the Downtown Eastside, the Leader of B.C.’s Official Opposition says he’s not visiting either.
“You trivialize the issue when it’s about ‘did you stop and look.’ We need to save people’s lives and you do that by creating facilities that are appropriate. And Insite is appropriate, it needs to be multiplied throughout the region,” said John Horgan.
Horgan says he visited Insite yesterday, and did go by the pop-up site but didn’t go in.
“I give full credit to the activists that are bringing on the pop-up site, but the right response from elected representatives is to not visit, it’s to resolve the issue by creating more spaces that are indoors, and are protecting people’s lives today,” the NDP leader said.
Horgan says the province could double Insite’s capacity by year’s end by buying an empty building next door, making room for addicts currently shooting up in the alleys.
Earlier this week, the premier rejected an invitation from the pop-up injection site’s coordinators to come down and have a first-hand look at what was happening there.
When asked why she wouldn’t visit, Clark, who described the the site as a “Band-Aid solution,” said she wanted to see more federal money for RCMP drug enforcement to stop the spread of fentanyl.
The first pop up injection site, located in an alley off Hastings and Columbia, sprang up last month – as the number of fentanyl related deaths continued to skyrocket, coordinators opened a second one this week.
Organizers say the volunteer run and funded site costs about $400 a day to stay open, and sees anywhere from between 80 people on a slow day, to more than 30 an hour during social assistance cheque week.