The Pandora Supervised Consumption Centre in Victoria. BLACK PRESS file photo

Supervised consumption sites will no longer require public hearings

Nanaimo city council votes to define supervised drug consumption as a health service

An obstacle to a supervised drug consumption site in Nanaimo is being removed, as city council has voted to define supervised consumption as a health service.

At a meeting Monday night, Nanaimo city council passed a motion that will essentially remove the current requirement for supervised consumption sites to go through a public hearing process.

City staff’s recommendation was for council to retain decision-making power over supervised consumption site locations, but that motion was defeated on a 4-4 tie vote. A motion to start a process to alter a bylaw to make supervised consumption a health service then passed 5-3.

“Just proceeding as is, kicking the can down the line, isn’t going to solve the problem,” said Coun. Tyler Brown. “I’m not saying that this is going to solve the problem, but at least it’s trying to move forward in the right direction.”

Brown’s motion included a provision that the city work with Island Health to develop a policy around siting for supervised consumption sites.

Coun. Jim Turley supported the motion, saying the issue of addictions isn’t necessarily a city responsibility.

“At least, it’s not something we can deal with, and yet on the other hand, we’re turning around and we’re making it potentially difficult for the level of government who wants to actually deal with it,” he said.

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