Plans underway for second supervised injection site
By: Andrew Hopkins, News 1130
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - There are still plenty of regulatory hurdles to clear, but plans are well underway for a second safe injection site in Vancouver.
The society operating the first site on East Hastings St. is already renting a space for the new facility.
Mark Townsend with the Portland Hotel Society says they have been renting a potential location near Victory Square for about two years. Efforts to make it a reality, however, stalled while a court battle was fought with Ottawa over operating the first site.
"We had to go all the way to the Supreme Court and get a unanimous decision in favour of Insite, and you know, opening a second one would not make sense in that kind of climate," says Townsend.
He adds his group has done what it can on its own to put together a plan for the second site, but there is still a mountain of approvals to be sought.
"We engaged an architect who has done design, but that's as far as we've got," he says. "We would have to work with the city, the provincial government, (and) the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority."
Townsend says they would next go to Ottawa.
"We would then have to seek the approval of the prime minister, again."
Townsend says that whole process could take years. He suggests a potential funding source for a new site is also up in the air.
"That's one of the issues that we'd have to deal with, whether it would be from the city, the federal government, the province, or from foundations and things like that."
Townsend explains the current facility doesn't have the capacity to cope with the number of drug users on the Downtown Eastside.