Region to propose Duke Street location in Kitchener for supervised consumption site

A report from Region of Waterloo staff has recommended a site in downtown Kitchener to house a supervised consumption site and treatment services.

The region will formally propose the idea of putting such a facility at 150 Duke St. W., which is on the back end of city hall, to the City of Kitchener.

If the site is approved by the city, it will then be proposed to the provincial government for approval and funding. It will also need federal approval for an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.

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The proposed site is budgeted to cost about $1.2 million, with $438,000 in capital costs and $802,000 in operating costs.

The plan was presented to the community services committee on Tuesday morning.

There were originally four possible locations on the table in Cambridge and Kitchener, with three potential sites in the latter city.

The other proposed sites included 115 Water St. N. and 105 Victoria St. N. in Kitchener and 150 Main St. in Cambridge.

The site in Cambridge was deemed unsuitable as there were concerns within the community over its proximity to a school.

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Regional staff will now be directed to work with Cambridge city staff to come up with other possible sites before a second supervised consumption site location is proposed to the provincial and federal governments.

The decision to create supervised consumption sites is a part of the region’s harm-reduction strategy.

So far this year, there have been 373 overdose-related 911 calls in the Waterloo region, according to the Waterloo Region Integrated Drug Strategy. The largest number of calls came from the downtown cores of central Kitchener and south Cambridge, according to the staff report.

In addition, at least 20 deaths in the region have been attributed to opioids between Jan. 1 and April 1, 2019.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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