Kitchener-Waterloo

People don't want safe injection site in Cambridge's cores, mayor says

Cambridge residents don’t want a safe injection site in the core areas of Hespeler, Galt and Preston — Mayor Doug Craig says that was the overwhelming opinion presented at a public input meeting Wednesday evening.

Public input meeting draws more than 150 people

Cambridge held its second meeting to discuss where to put one of three supervised injection sites planned for the area on Wednesday night. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Cambridge residents don't want a safe injection site in the core areas of Hespeler, Galt and Preston, Mayor Doug Craig says.

That was the overwhelming message at a public input meeting held in Cambridge Wednesday evening.

It's the second meeting the Region of Waterloo has held to discuss where to put one of three supervised injection sites planned for the area.

More than 150 people showed up and a few dozen spoke, Craig said.

He said the majority of the people seemed to support the site, but there was "a very loud message to regional council that, 'We don't want, in Cambridge, any safe injection sites within any of the three core areas within the city.'"

'Devastating effect' on cores

A key group was concerned business owners who Craig said are worried about the size of the downtown areas in Cambridge versus bigger core centres like Kitchener or Waterloo.

He said they think a safe injection site in those areas would have a "devastating effect."

"Cambridge city council, at its last meeting, in fact endorsed a motion that it did not want to have safe injection sites in the Galt area or in the Galt core area or the other two core areas in the city," he said.

"That motion I'm taking to the region and asking them to adopt that. That would allow the region to look at other sites outside the core areas."

Craig couldn't name any locations that might work, and said instead, he doesn't want a safe injection site near schools or residential areas.

"We'll find an area or a place that I think will meet most of the criteria in terms of community acceptance because I think it's a great part of what we're trying to do — what the region is trying to do," he said.

Craig said he'll bring Cambridge council's motion to exclude the site from the three core areas to regional council on Tuesday.