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City of Parksville waits to see about overdose prevention site

Parksville, BC, Canada / 88.5 The Beach

PARKSVILLE — In the face of a brewing crisis in Parksville, city council decided to be patient and delay any decision on having an overdose prevention site.

A motion was brought forward before council at the end of August to either request a needle sweep and disposal service from Island Health, request Island Health funding and resources for an overdose prevention site, or monitor the situation over the next six months.

Councillor Sue Powell’s motion for both a disposal service and funding for an overdose prevention site was defeated in a vote, in favour of being patient.

Powell told said she suggested both an overdose prevention and needle disposal site since it will relieve pressure on the City in the midst of a crisis.

“If the rest of the province is any indication, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Some people think it’s drug addicts and people living on the street and that’s just not true. We have people who are OD-ing in their homes and using out in the community.”

A report from Parksville’s chief administrative officer Debbie Comis showed the City is grappling with an increase in needles found on the ground.

Before, it was a few needles scattered around. Now, Comis said caches of needles are being found, one with 80 needles and a second at the beach with 45 needles.

Cleaning up the needle stashes is also draining city resources. Comis said $3,500 was budgeted for cleanup this year, an amount with was quickly surpassed by the end of July.

Parksville mayor Marc Lefebvre told believes postponing a decision was the right call because the City doesn’t have the proper resources to handle an overdose prevention site.

Council is currently waiting on a staff report about the possibility of a needle disposal service.

Story written by Spencer Sterritt

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