Search for supervised consumption site on hold as agencies redirect resources to COVID-19 crisis

The continuing search for a downtown location for a supervised consumption site (SCS) has been out on hold until further notice due to resource challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The Canadian Mental Health Association and the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit have been actively responding to the current COVID-19 outbreak with the re-deployment of staff and resources to address the needs of the community.
“Unfortunately at this time, neither organization has the capacity to actively continue the work of this application process,” wrote Mia Brown, Acting Program Manager of the Substance Use and Injury Prevention Program, in an April 8 memo to council.
The health unit and the mental health association are co-applicants for a site. Discussion last year focused on a proposed site at 90 Mulcaster Street. The applicants are no longer considering that location.
At its last meeting on Feb. 24, the Barrie SCS Site Selection Advisory Committee were presented with a number of site options from local realtors, all of which are located in Ward 2. The committee, according to the memo, continues to investigate the options.
“At the last meeting, the committee reviewed the mitigation strategies from other operating CTS/SCSs across Canada, and compared strategies that were created based on the January-March 2019 Barrie community engagement and consultations. New mitigation strategies will be created based on this scan of those sites, and will include the feedback from the community consultation report for this application process,” writes Brown.
Because of resources allocated to the COVID-19 crisis, a planned April 27 presentation to council has also been cancelled. 
“Please know that this was a difficult decision to be made, and thoughtfully considered, we hope that our community understands our need to pause this work in order to address this evolving pandemic. We intend to resume the SCS work as soon as the situation permits.”

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