Hours after media reports surfaced that a parent found a hypodermic needle at the creekside community centre, the city has dropped it from use as an emergency warming centre.
A spokesperson for the Vancouver Park Board has confirmed an investigation into the needle incident is now underway.
However, they say that incident is separate from the decision to pull the plug on the warming centre which.
That decision, they say, came after a call early this evening, and was reportedly because of lack of demand.
But that lack of demand was apparently not on the radar of Vancouver’s Director of homeless services Ethel Whitty, who addressed the centre’s popularity just hours earlier at a city press conference.
“We’ve been having an average at Britannia and at Creekside of about 14 people a night sleeping there. We’ve had more people than that coming and going, if you count the visits,” she said.
At that media availability, Whitty did address concerns from parents about drug use and altercations at the warming centres, saying anyone found using drugs was being asked to leave.
“I would say that the staff there do everything they can do to make sure that those environments are clean and that no children will be affected by the fact that at times there are drug users using the centres.”
City manager Sadhu Johnston also added officials are reviewing the program, and will look at ways of spreading the burden between different facilities in the future.
An after-hours request to the City for comment on the closure was not returned by press time.
Warming centres remain open at the West End Community Centre and The Hall on Venebles, operated by Britannia Community Centre.