Due March 31
A number of people have been getting in touch with us about the Site Selection Survey for the proposed Supervised Consumption Site, and wanting to know our opinion on which site is best. Our answer, of course, is whatever the Health Unit deems best! But we’re happy to walk through some of the issues with each, as they pertain to the province’s requirements for Barrie’s SCS application. The SMDHU has compiled quite a bit of information as well, which we’ve linked to below.
11 Sophia St. W.
19 Innisfil St., Unit 940 (previously referred to as 80 Bradford St.)
192 Bradford St.
These three are in addition to the previously-shortlisted site at 110 Dunlop St. W., Unit 4 (back of building). The Toronto St. location was removed from the list after the previous community consultation.
The criteria for site selection (from Ministry of Health’s application criteria, plus Site Selection Committee additions) include:
Proximity to clients – i.e., walking distance (1km) from where open drug use is known to occur, and easily accessible by public transit (boundary map here)
Wrap-around, mandatory services (i.e., onsite or nearby access to addictions treatment, mental health, primary care, and social services)
Sensitive land uses (proximity to child care centers, parks, schools)
Must include service intake, consumption, post-consumption, and other mandatory service areas, hand hygiene sink and foot wash station, and accessible washrooms
Landlord approval and financially viable
In light of those application requirements in place, here are some of the pros and cons we’ve come up with for each, after speaking with members of the community. (If you know of more, please get in touch and we can add them to the list.)
11 Sophia St. W.
Location is within “red zone” (although at edge)
Not in the main shopping district of downtown, so likely less of a fight from the BIA
More housing is about to be built close by, several rooming houses nearby, not far from Queen’s Park, so reasonably accessible
Property has its own yard, so could use outdoors for inhalation (which wouldn’t be possible in any of the other sites, without expensive ventilation renovations) -- also the therapeutic effect of having a nice outdoor space
Lots of potential for the building -- layout allows for renovations and modifications in the future
No space for a kitchenette, or foot care room in current configuration (but there are 3 bedrooms on the second level currently leased for a year -- may be room to expand)
Land is on an incline, which may be difficult for people to walk to if they have mobility issues.
Second floor (where the 3 bedrooms are) is currently inaccessible outside of stairs, would not be feasible to put in an elevator or ramp in this building to 2nd floor.
19 Innisfil St., Unit 940
(previously identified as 80 Bradford St.)
Wrap-around services nearby
Open space, customizable
Very close to Milligan’s Pond
80 Bradford would have been (barely) within search boundaries, however the actual entrance off 19 Innisfil is outside the site selection boundaries – and likely too far west to be easily accessible for the immediate needs
Only one entrance (two needed)
Would have to be renovated to meet accessibility needs
Unit is only connected from Innisfil Street, on 2nd floor -- in order to reach the other services, they would have to go outside and walk around the block to the front entrance.
Only a one-year lease, so precarious tenancy – condos about to be build directly across the street, so there may be pressure to sell or not renew lease after first year
Building maintenance and security staff have been increasingly hostile to homeless in the building. Owner has previously refused to allow the Busby van to stop at any of his properties, believed to have previously been opposed to an SCS in the building.
Proximity to those using services for suboxone or methadone could be problematic -- “pinching the line between two very important things for people who are not ready for treatment and people in treatment”
Neighbour has already taken out a petition and media articles against supportive housing in the neighbourhood – hostile surroundings in area already.
192 Bradford St.
A very nice space
Outside of required boundary – Too far away from existing need, people not likely to walk that far to use it
Does not meet “wrap-around services” requirement, as there are no services nearby
Again, though, our bottom line is that Barrie needs this life-saving service in place right away, and we will support whatever the experts at the CMHA and SMDHU decide best fits the criteria for their application. You can get updates on the site selection and application process at the SMDHU’s website
If you haven’t already, please sign our petition to council (to support a Supervised Consumption Site in Barrie) at http://chng.it/4SYcKFVHvz
And don’t forget to fill in the SMDHU’s survey at https://s-ca.chkmkt.com/?e=221256&h=18E3161236B6D2B&l=en by Wednesday, March 31 at 5pm!