Region of Waterloo officially halts supervised consumption site process for now

Regional council approved a decision by the community services committee to hold off on making any concrete plans for supervised consumption sites in Kitchener and Cambridge for now. They will wait to see the results of a review being completed by the province.

Staff will continue to do technical work including facility design and cost estimates

Regional councillors have agreed with the community services committee to hold off on making any decisions on supervised consumption sites until after a provincial review of similar sites is completed. (Amanda Margison, CBC News)

Regional councillors have officially hit the pause button on setting up supervised consumption sites in Kitchener and Cambridge.

The decision came Thursday night during a council meeting. A decision had been made by the community services committee to halt work on opening the sites. The sites are used by people who take illicit substances so they can have health professionals nearby in the case of an overdose, or if they want to speak with someone about how to get off drugs.

The committee made the unanimous decision to wait to move forward on the sites until after the province completes a review.

Ontario's Health Minister Christine Elliott said she will be reviewing overdose prevention sites and supervised consumption sites and plans to release her findings next month.

Opioid response plan work continues

Regional staff will continue to do technical work, including facility design, support services and determining estimates for capital and operating costs. Then when there is more clarity from the province, "next steps will be evaluated," a release from the region said.

Staff will also continue to work with community partners on an opioid response plan, which may include harm reduction, prevention, recovery and rehabilitation, and enforcement and justice, the region's release said.

Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig has been vocal in telling regional council his city doesn't want supervised consumption sites in the core areas, particularly in Galt.

In the release after Thursday night's meeting, Regional Chair Ken Seiling said it's hoped they will be able to "strike a balance between keeping the SCS work moving forward, while recognizing that discussion on specific sites may be premature pending the position of the province."