Regional officials have recommended two possible drug-injection sites in downtown Kitchener.
A regional report urges that two similar sites be considered in downtown Cambridge but, as usual, opioid-free Waterloo has no need of such a facility.
Eventually, regional officials want to see one safe-injection site in Kitchener and another in Cambridge.
Regional councillors will vote on the safe-injection report next Tuesday.
The report outlines how the sites could help control the soaring number of opioid-overdose deaths that, in 2018 jumped to 85, up from 38 in 2016.
After reviewing about 30 local sites, regional staff confirmed Kitchener’s facilities could be at 115 Water St. N. between Victoria and Duke streets. The site, a 2-storey house owned by The Working Centre, is in Kitchener Coun. Sarah Marsh’s Ward 10 near St. John’s Kitchen.
The second, still unconfirmed facility, is in my Ward 9 on King St.E. on the way to Kitchener Market.
The Cambridge sites would be at 150 Main St. and 149 Ainslie St.N.
I believe safe-injection sites are overdue in our Region but, at the same time, recognize they upset numerous residents and businesses.
In my ward, I also appreciate the fact east-end Cedar-Hill communities have spent decades struggling against the proliferation of drug, alcohol and other social-service agencies locating in or near their neighbourhood.
For that reason, once today’s report is accepted by regional council, additional consultations will take place with residents and businesses located near the suggested sites.
One question I asked at a special meeting held today was if the whole question of all such sites across Ontario could be influenced by the fact our Trump-Light Premier Doug Ford is on record as trashing such facilities.
The answer was that, hopefully, federal money would come through and Ford would surround himself with “smart people” who might change his mind on the safe-injection site issue.
Which reminded me of very similar but empty suggestion made recently during and after an equally scary presidential election.