British Columbia

Kelowna business owner 'totally, totally, totally opposed' to supervised injection site location

Owner of Tonic's Pub and Yama's Greek Restaurant, across the street from the proposed location, says he and other local business owners are concerned.

Nick Sintichackis owns 2 businesses across the street from location proposed by Interior Health

This area of Leon Avenue may soon be home to Kelowna's first supervised injection site, and some local businesses aren't happy about it. (Google Streetview)

Kelowna could soon have a permanent supervised injection site downtown on Leon Avenue, and that's not sitting well with some local businesses.

Nick Sintichackis owns both Tonic's Pub and Yama's Greek Restaurant, which are across the street from the proposed location, and says he and other local business owners think the location is a bad choice.

"We're totally, totally, totally against a location at 477 Leon Avenue," he told Radio West host Josh Pagé. "The ramifications of having a place there would be very detrimental to all of downtown.

"People exiting the safe injection business out onto the street: who is going to police these people? Will these people be a nuisance to staff or families with children walking downtown with their parents?"

Sintichackis says downtown Kelowna is trying to go through renewal and he's concerned the supervised injection site would invite damage and litter as new businesses try to enter the area.

The location was first proposed last month by the Interior Health Authority because Kelowna has one of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the region.

Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and other community professionals have voiced their support already for a facility in the city.

"People are dying, and they're dying on our streets. This is perhaps an opportunity for them to use and be closer to help if they need it," Basran told CBC earlier this year.

But Sintichackis says a mobile facility would be a better solution to spread the service around the city.

Sintichackis says he and other businesses will "react accordingly" based on how Interior Health proceeds with its proposed location.

Thursday is the last day for public input through Interior Health's website about proposals in both Kelowna and Kamloops.

With files from CBC Radio One's Radio West


To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Kelowna business owner 'totally, totally, totally opposed' to supervised injection site

now