City council will vote Monday for the Windsor Essex County Health Unit (WECHU)’s application to the province for a supervised consumption and treatment site at 101 Wyandotte Street East.
“I expect it to go through pretty swiftly without much discussion because we had the discussion back in January,” said Ward 3 city councilor Rino Bortolin. “I don’t think it’s going to be a long-drawn-out debate. The conversation we had in January was robust enough.”
In mid-January, council voted 6-5 in favor of the site being located down the road at 628 Goyeau Street but the original deal fell through with the building owner. The Wyandotte building was one of two sites originally proposed.
“That’s a perfect site location,” said community advocate Brandon Bailey. “When we set up our unsanctioned site it was half a block away.”
Bailey set up a tent in a parking lot on Goyeau St. a few years ago and was forced to shut it down. “2018 is when we started pushing for it so this is something that should have been here years ago,” he said.
He is glad it is close to being approved and hopes the site gets the nod.
“Hopefully we can get something within the next couple of months,” Bailey said.
That could happen.
Bortolin said an application for a temporary site at that location will be submitted to cover for the length of time it will take to approve funding for the permanent location.
According to Bortolin, the temporary site doesn’t come with funding so the health unit will have to pay for leasehold improvements on the building. However, they will get the money back when funding for the permanent site is approved.
“So if we get approval quicker for the temporary one, we’ll open right away until we get approval for the long-term funding from the federal government,” said Bortolin.
The sooner the better, says Bailey.
“The deaths aren’t slowing down,” he said. “If anything they’re increasing and people that are in that position are feeling more and more hopeless.”
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