York Street location still under consideration for safe consumption site: Elliott
Published Thursday, June 13, 2019 1:11PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 13, 2019 7:18PM EDT
In a contradiction to earlier statements, Ontario's Health Minister says the province is still reviewing the possibility of a permanent supervised drug consumption site at 446 York St.
Christine Elliott, in London on Thursday for an announcement about access to life-saving transportation for ill newborn babies, says that location is not off the table.
"We are still actively reviewing applications," Elliott says. "It is being considered along with the King Street site. I want to...understand the municipality's perspective on the issue. We are working together to find the location that is going to be best in the long term for people that need help in the City of London and surrounding area."
The government said last week, however, it would like to see the temporary site downtown become permanent. That site on King Street was initially set up with the aim of finding a location for the permanent site elsewhere.
The former Bellone's Music store on York, which closed at the end of March, was the planned location for permanent safe consumption site.
However, amid controversy, the province back-tracked on that plan and it was learned that Blackridge Strategy was connected with lobbying efforts to pull funding for the site at York Street.
During question period at Queen’s Park last week, London North Centre MPP Terence Kernaghan brought up the issue. “There are deep connections between Blackridge Strategy and the premier’s own office staff. Lobbyists pushed to get the York Street site cancelled and sure enough that’s what happened.”
Elliott denied Kernaghan's accusation and Premier Doug Ford said the reason the site was rejected in part was because of its proximity to H.B. Beal Secondary School.
Elliott says there is no date yet on when a decision on a permanent site would be made.
"We will deal with it in a timely manner, I guess that's all I can say."
Mayor Ed Holder says he was pleased with the meeting.
"I think she (Elliott) is fair and open minded and looked at the consideration of what both the Medical Officer of Health and I had to offer. And based on that, I think she was impressed with the information."