A pop-up injection site at City Hall?
That’s the idea one Nanaimo City Councillor is floating until Island Health can provide an alternative.
Councillor Gord Fuller says Nanaimo leads B.C. in per-capita overdose deaths, and says he can’t wait any longer.
Working with local non-profits like Harris House, he says the plan is to launch a pop-up site on Boxing Day, and says they might locate it in the City Hall parking lot.
“You know if one life is saved, that’s one life that’s saved. And that is the primary thing. That we have something in place until something permanent comes in,” he says.
Fuller says it would consist of a couple of tents with tables and naloxone, and be staffed by volunteers.
“We do have a number of people who’ve been trained in administering naloxone, we also have a community nurse who is aware of what we’re doing. An outreach nurse, and she may be popping in at times coming down, maybe even doing shifts,” he says.
He says he doesn’t anticipate pushback about the potential city hall location and says the site is on the table for a few reasons.
“The reason we thought of that site is because it’s very close to Harris House, which is a needle exchange. There are also people that are camped out occasionally on a rocky bluff that’s right beside where we would be setting up. And we know that there’s needle use going on up there as well,” he says.
Fuller stresses the idea is a temporary solution, and is hopeful Island Health can finalize a plan with Harris House for a sanctioned site soon.
He says they’ll fundraise to support it, but he’s putting up a thousand dollars of his own to get the ball rolling.
Nanaimo has seen 25 overdose deaths already thsi year.