Landlord nixes overdose reduction site in Kelowna at last minute
Site was supposed to open in strip mall on Asher Road in Rutland until 'tenant concerns' arose
An overdose prevention site in Kelowna, which planned to open Friday, did not because the landlord changed her mind at the last minute, according to the site operator and the Interior Health Authority.
Living Positive Resource Centre was supposed to operate the site in a strip mall on Asher Road in Kelowna's Rutland neighbourhood.
However, she says, in the days leading up to the opening, the landlord said other tenants threatened to move out if the site opened.
- Vancouver BIA urges Kelowna companies to welcome injection site
- Kelowna business owner 'totally, totally, totally opposed' to supervised injection site location
- Interior health authority to open overdose prevention sites in Kamloops and Kelowna this week
"It's been a huge roller coaster. We've certainly seen a lot of our clients pass in the last year and it's been devastating," executive director Clare MacDonald told Radio West guest host Josh Pagé. "So when we heard we were going to be able to get the service up and running, we were elated."
"Unfortunately, one or two people who were just holding out and not even open to conversation … they're just saying no, it can't go ahead."
Interior Health spokesman Jamie Braman confirmed it was "tenant concerns" that scrapped the plan.
A second overdose prevention site did open as planned on Friday at the former Ellis Street Health Centre.
MacDonald says an overdose prevention site is not the same as a supervised injection site: while people are allowed to use drugs in a private area, there isn't direct supervision from staff.
"But we are very close by, and if an overdose occurs, we are able to step in almost immediately," she said.
MacDonald says a new location will need to be secured for the second site, which may not be on Asher Road.
With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West
To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Landlord nixes harm reduction site in Kelowna at last minute