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British Columbia

Vancouver mayor disappointed by new location for overdose prevention site

VANCOUVER — The mayor of Vancouver says the city is disappointed about the new location of an overdose prevention site in the downtown core. 

Ken Sim says in a news release that the city was not consulted on the relocation of Thomus Donaghy OPS to Howe Street, and the site should have been moved to the nearby St. Paul’s Hospital instead.

Vancouver Coastal Health said in a statement earlier Wednesday that the site had officially opened at its new location on the 1000 block of Howe Street, though there is no signage. 

It says Thomus Donaghy OPS initially opened in March 2021 but the lease for its Seymour Street location expired last month.

The health authority says daily visits to the site are up 150 per cent since it opened, and it has reversed more than 200 drug overdoses. 

Sim says that despite his surprise, he appreciates that there are several factors that must be balanced when selecting locations for overdose prevention sites.

“We look forward to learning more from Vancouver Coastal Health about how they plan to operate this site in a way that provides these important services while mitigating impacts on Vancouver neighbourhoods like Yaletown,” Sim says in the release. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2024.

The Canadian Press