Update by weareward3too@gmail.com

Council has approved 746 Barton Street East as the location for The Aids Network (TAN) to open a Consumption and Treatment Site (CTS).

We want to extend our thanks to the 1200 people who put pen to paper and signed our petition and the over 100 people who emailed our Mayor and Councillors with their opposition. Unfortunately our voices were not heard.

The approval of an injection site in a struggling but reviving business area and nearby family homes passed 13-2 on February 22, 2023.

To be clear and transparent, we do not oppose or negate the need or benefit of a CTS we oppose the location, chosen because there was a “willing landlord” who chose to donate his property and evict a paying tenant. One wonders why.

Our community is concerned about many aspects of this facility; safety of our children and our homes, the possible increase of illegal activity, an influx of marginalized people with addictions and the effects on businesses struggling to survive after a pandemic. Many of these questions would have been answered with robust community consultation and engagement but that didn’t happen.

In a typical move that can be related to “closing the barn door after the horse gets out” both TAN and the City has committed to improving community consultation.

Please don’t lose heart because once again we’ve been ignored and bypassed. We still have options. We need to be vigilant and keep pressure on the city to ensure they keep their word on the consultation and ensure our voices are finally heard.

Will the community process will be fair or transparent? Our next recourse is to protest this to the Federal government where the operator needs to get an exemption to the prohibited drugs act (to operate an injection site where people bring their street drugs) and to the Province for funding (injection sites typically get >$1M in annual funding).

You can send letters of opposition to the following people:

Carol Ann Shènard, Director and Viviane Bergevin, Manager ocs-bsc@hc-sc.gc.ca

You can also send a list of your concerns to our councilors and to us at weareward3too@gmail.com. If you have an interest in being part of the consultation team, make that known.

Remember, this is Ourward3, not Theirward3. Keep using your voices and stay strong.