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Council has voted unanimously for Kitchener safe consumption site

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic says by voting unanimously, councillors are demonstrating their willingness to be part of the solution to a "public health crisis."
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CTS Site Meeting Kitchener
Aastha Shetty/KitchenerToday.com

Council has voted unanimously to support the 150 Duke Street location for Waterloo Region's first Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) site.

Out of all 28 delegates who spoke councillors at Monday night's meeting, 27 said they were in strong support of the 150 Duke Street location as a CTS site.

Delegate Abbie Craigie said a CTS site will save hundreds of lives.

"While I'm a recovered addict of nine years, I've died 11 times of overdoses. It was ultimately my friend dying in my bedroom of a heroin overdose. If we had a safe injection site, that may not have happened. So I have to come in support for people who can no longer speak. I have to support those people because they are still my people."

Delegate Jenny Kirby also agreed that 150 Duke Street is the best location for a CTS site.

"I know people have had concerns about city hall being a gathering site, but from both my lived experience as a drug user and an outreach worker, and just using my own eyes -- city hall is what I'd like to call a favourite shoot up spot because people are constantly shooting up in city hall. The people are already there."

 

Delegate Kandace Boos said she is a mother of a young child and a resident of downtown Kitchener.

"The sheer number of people who have died since this process has begun -- if they had died in any other way, it would be on the news. But because they died of an opiate overdose, nobody cares."

The only delegate who spoke against the Duke Street location during Monday's council meeting did not want to speak to 570 NEWS.

Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said hearing the delegates' lived experiences was enough to convince council members that the city needs a CTS site.

"That's where we are today. The region will be able to know when they deal with this on Wednesday night, exactly where Kitchener stands, and they can start the application process immediately after Wednesday night."

He said the next step is for regional council to go over recommendations from last week's committee meeting, then send the province an application to finalize the 150 Duke Street location.

Vrbanovic said the region has made commitments to work with residents who may have any concerns with CTS.

"We have dealt with some of these issues both here and in city hall and throughout our community in the past and we'll work collaboratively in the region in order to tackle these issues going forward."

 

 




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