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

Keremeos man says stem cell therapy changed his life

Darryl Brewer says he went from being immobile with chronic pain to leading an active lifestyle

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

Youth Wellness Gathering aims to empower, educate South Okanagan youth

The event is hosted by a non-profit located on the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) reserve July 22 & 23

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Hespeler had connection to Mennonite migration

Home in Summerland was built in 1907, moved when the highway was changed

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

COLUMN: Looking back to a time of optimism

The first lunar landing 50 years ago was a time to celebrate dreams and accomplishments

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Most Read