London

Neighbourhood association refuses to give up the fight to stop supervised consumption site

In a plea to Ontario's Ombudsman, a local business association is saying that a supervised consumption site, close to the city's core, would be a danger to children and youth. This comes a week after a provincial tribunal dismissed the association's appeal to block the site.

Last week a provincial tribunal threw away the association's appeal to block the site

In the letter to the ombudsman, the association argues that the site at 446 York Street will be too close to youth who attend H.B Beal Secondary School and Central Catholic High School.  (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

In a plea to a provincial watchdog, a local neighbourhood and business association is saying that a supervised consumption site, near the city's core, would be a danger to children and youth. 

Last week, the province's Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) threw out the Midtown Ratepayers Association's appeal to block the supervised consumption site at 446 York Street. 

While the business group argued that a drug use site would lead to public safety concerns, the tribunal dismissed it saying a supervised consumption site would actually improve public safety in the area. 

On Monday, the group sent a formal letter to Paul Dubé, the provinces' ombudsman, an independent officer who promotes fairness and accountability by investigating public complaints. 

They're asking him to investigate if city officials, including Mayor Ed Holder and the city's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Chris Mackie, would be "endangering thousands of children by exposing them to open drug dealing and use and other crime" by establishing a drug consumption site at the proposed location. 

"We feel like we need to keep going until we can't go anymore to protect our neighborhood and schools," said Denise Krogman, the president of the business association. 

Supervised consumption sites allow illegal drugs to be consumed under medical supervision as a way to prevent overdoses and limit the spread of disease through contaminated syringes. 

"We don't want to be construed as people that don't care about helping people. If [officials] believe an injection site is going to help people, that's their right to believe that, but it's not the right area for us and we shouldn't have to compromise our safety," Krogman said. 

The Middlesex London Health Unit declined to comment on this latest development. 

In the letter to the ombudsman, the association argued that the site will be too close to youth who attend H.B Beal Secondary School and Central Catholic High School. 

"I'm hoping [the ombudsman] will step in and address the fact that it's not safe for the vulnerable high school kids to be around people who will perpetuate drug use and drug dealing," Krogman added. 

With files from the CBC's Andrew Lupton

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