Protest: Supervised Injection Sites
Our residents and businesses within the neighborhoods of McCauley, Chinatown and Central McDougall have invested, over a decade, time, money and effort to build a healthy vibrant community. Recently, decisions made on the supervised injection sites by the City of Edmonton, the Province of Alberta and the Government of Canada do not align with past and present commitments to revitalization and return to community health.
Our communities do not agree with the proposed model to have three locations within the inner city downtown core to provide supervised injection services. The process of involvement and consultation was greatly flawed to the extent to which the community was informed was minimal and sometimes none.
Our purpose is stated below:
We are here to seek a thorough research to determine the real impact on neighborhoods and communities beyond the decrease of overdoses. The real impact needs to be discussed and addressed by all levels of government in conjunction with the communities impacted.
We are not here to discuss or debate the merit of supervised injection services;
Homelessness, mental health and addiction are complex issues;
Our communities are disadvantaged. The poor consultation, debate and discussion concerning the Supervised Injection Sites have been conducted with great prejudice against the residents, business owners and other stakeholders of the affected communities.
We hope that our elected leaders and administrative decision-makers appreciate our frustrations and our fear of the impact of the SISs on our communities, and the necessity of progressing, not regressing, the revitalization of the same as per the promises made to us in the past.
COMMUNITIES ARE IMPORTANT
OUR VOICE MUST BE HEARD
WE ARE EQUAL PARTNER IN DECISIONS MAKING IMPACTING
Members and supporters of the McCauley, Central McDougall and Chinatown communities are raising concerns about the lack of consultation on the three supervised injection sites planned within their community.
The sites would be provided to people who supply their own drugs. The sites would be supervised by non-profit groups.
Proponents of the supervised injection sites say this would reduce social disorder within the neighborhood. Chinatown representatives, McCauley and Central Dougall Community residents are concerned the injection sites would create more social disorder and safety issues for the residents who live there and /or have businesses in the neighborhood.
Chinatown members understand the health concerns of the broader community about drugs in Edmonton. However, they wonder about the priorities in site selection. It was stated that 60-70 per cent of Fentanyl related deaths occur outside of the core of the city.
The Chinese community contributes to the broader community as citizens, business people, professionals, hardworking individuals and taxpayers.
Chinatown understands that those with health and housing needs require compassion and judicious care. Organizations in Chinatown have responded to humanitarian needs ranging from supporting Edmonton’s food bank, flood relief in the Philippines, and the Fort McMurray fire victims. Chinatown wishes to be an equal partner in the city. That means being treated with the same respect by City Council in their decision-making as other communities expect.
It also means that other parts of the city will share the responsibilities of homelessness and the opioid crisis.
Edmonton’s Chinatown celebrated its 100th anniversary the same year City Council announced that the LRT would run through historic Chinatown in front of the homes of 500 seniors and the buildings which provide social supports to them. As we approach the 150th birthday of Canada, we reflect on the words of Councillor Tony Caterina about the social stigma attached to the Boyle Street McCauley area 50 years ago. He said it has not changed. What kind of neighborhood will future generations face 50 years from now? What kind of equal rights will we extend to all citizens in all parts of the city?