The supervised injection site set up at Nanaimo City Hall is getting ready to move shop at the end of the month.
Island Health and the city have now set aside temporary location at an existing housing building.
City Councillor Gord Fuller says Island Health is subcontracting the new location out to the Canada Mental Health Association, with the goal of having it open on February 1st.
“Plus they would like a chance to branch out to paramedics, whether that involves the public, some of the people that have volunteered at the site we operate currently, I don’t know at this time.”
Fuller says so far, there have been no fatal overdoses, but each week the number of users rises.
“We know it saves lives, we’ve done it four times, there’s never been a death at one of these sites that I know of, and to me that’s huge in the realm of safety for the people that are using it. Lets give them a chance to make some better decisions in the future.”
He says when it opens on Wesley Street he does have some concerns.
“I don’t know about the consumers because it’s going to take them more time to get used to something different.”
But Fuller says despite that, the pros outweigh the cons with the new location.
“We’ll be right close, that’s it a youth drop-in centre, and they do a lot of family programs out of the old gymnasium there, Harris House, health clinic, and needle exchange.”
Fuller says it’s time to give addicts a chance to live and to make better decisions.
The unsanctioned pop-up injection site opened in the city hall parking lot back on Boxing Day, sparking controversy.
After concerns from the city workers’ union, the city manager closed City Hall for a day, before reopening it with added security.
Earlier this month, Island Health stepped in to assist in finding a new location and provide official provincial backing.
As of December, Nanaimo had the highest rate per capita of overdose deaths in B.C.