Chamber pushes for overdose site at North Okanagan hospital

Interior Health urged to keep OPS out of downtown Vernon

Pressure is being applied to keep a proposed overdose prevention site out of downtown Vernon.

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce directors and staff met with Interior Health representatives Friday, May 17 to discuss plans to establish an OPS in Vernon.

Based on what the chamber is hearing from its members and the community, a key message to IH was that an overdose prevention site not be located in the downtown core of Vernon.

“We appreciate that IH is mandated by the provincial government to respond to overdose deaths, and the strategy includes an OPS. The determination of a suitable location for the OPS is critical to the success of the program, as is the acceptance of the SOP by businesses and the community at large,” said Diana Wilson, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

See: IHA pulls Vernon RFP for overdose prevention site

“Our members are telling us they are very concerned that an OPS in the downtown core will compound existing safety concerns and decrease property values. There is a strong level of compassion among business owners and they want individuals to be able to access the help they need, but they are also seeking assurances that their businesses and customers will not be negatively impacted by an OPS.”

The chamber recommended that an OPS be located at or adjacent to Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

“The hospital is within a short walking distance of downtown and there are a range of services available at the hospital, particularly during an emergency,” said Wilson.

Further to this, the chamber suggested that the selection of an OPS location follow a distinct process, separate from the request for proposal for the OPS service provider. The selection process and criteria for an appropriate OPS location needs to consider the economic and social impact of the OPS site on neighbouring businesses and their customers.

“We also stated that any service providers bidding on the OPS need to detail how they will engage with businesses and the community before a facility opens and once it is open. There must be a long-term commitment to meaningful communications from both the OPS service provider and IH,” said Wilson.

See: Chamber insists on community input for Vernon overdose prevention site

It is anticipated that a revised request for proposal will be issued by IH after May 24.

“We thank Interior Health for meeting with the chamber and hearing our concerns and suggestions. We look forward to having any further discussion that may be required and are hopeful that the RFP process will be amended to better reflect what is best for Vernon,” said Wilson.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Photos: Railway Days at Revelstoke Railway Museum 2019

Today was Railway Days at the Revelstoke Railway Museum. There was food,… Continue reading

City launched Tech Strategy 2.0

Revelstoke received $100,000 in funding to build on its Technology Strategy project

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Fire departments extinguish suspicious wildfire near West Kelowna

Crews established a fire guard and knocked down the blaze before it grew to one hectare.

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okangan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

Most Read