LETTER – Putting shelter so close to park raises neighbourhood concerns
There is definitely an air of discomfort and disbelief over the decision for putting a shelter so close to Westmount Park. At present, the users of the park include families, single people, and youngsters. There are a few pieces of equipment specifically geared for use by kids.
It is often used by folks who are taking day care kids there to play. People use the picnic table quite often to have lunch or just sit and have a coffee while they talk to others.
There has been information provided that “Moira House” will have an area for safe injection but the material injected by the users of intravenous drugs will not be supplied by a known source. In other words, it could be toxic (is any intravenous drug non-toxic?)…….
I took a number of photos this morning and have attached a couple which show the tension between present users of the park and potential users of “recreational” intravenous drugs.
I wonder if those who voted for Moira House considered a place near the picnic table for safe disposal of “sharps”? I also wonder if they considered a location where a few Naloxone kits could be stored safely? Was there a discussion as to the known “spill-over” of drug-related problems from the other shelters that already exist?
Will this park drift away from becoming a safe place for families and children to a place for the injection of intravenous drugs?
Unfortunately it appears there are no safe places for one reason or another. Vagabonds with various degrees of substance abuse and unfortunate upbringing have been visible in the vicinity of this park for quite sometime. However us citizens should be persistently vociferous in demanding more than just half-drawn social housing plans. The need for a comprehensive approach to mental health and substance abuse (for which housing is only a sub-section) in long overdue. I am applauding you John and please continue in this most important endeavour of making your voice heard.