Friday, July 23, 2021
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Unsanctioned drug consumption site pops up in downtown Lethbridge

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A make-shift drug consumption site popped up in Lethbridge over the weekend and that has garnered an awful lot of attention not only around the community, but across the province.

The CBC first reported the unsanctioned injection site, which had been set up in a tent at Galt Gardens. The following evening, the tent moved to a different location downtown after the story sparked several negative comments on social media.

The pop-up SCS is being operated by a newly formed group known as the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society. A Facebook post describes the group as “a grassroots response to the social need within the city.” It encourages volunteers to come help at the pop-up SCS  site and says “supporters are needed to show solidarity in this movement, as backlash from the community may be expected.”

It was set up less than month after the ARCHES-run facility closed its doors following a scathing financial audit showing hundreds of thousand dollars in misappropriated public money.

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Alberta’s UCP government though is already calling for this unsanctioned tent site to be shut down.

In a statement sent our radio station, Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Jason Luan says the province provides a legal overdose prevention site at the nearby shelter, within adequate capacity for the community.

“This illegal site contravenes the Criminal Code of Canada and we (Government of Alberta) expects the City of Lethbridge and the Lethbridge Police Service to enforce the law,” says Minister Luan in the emailed statement.

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Patrick Siedlecki

Pat has been a mainstay in the CJOC News department from the time the station launched in 2007. He’s been in the position of New Director since then and has been anchoring daily news casts as well as reporting and working behind the scenes.

Community is important to him and keeping CJOC listeners and readers informed about what’s happening across southern Alberta and beyond.

Pat has been in radio broadcasting for the past 24 years, starting in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island in 1997 and then moving up island to Nanaimo for another few years before heading to Lethbridge in 2007.

Pat grew up in the small Saskatchewan farming town of Foam Lake. After high school, he went to Western Academy Broadcasting College (WABC) in Saskatoon prior to moving to the island.

Pat also spent several years broadcasting hockey in the BCHL as well as seven years as the radio voice of the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL.

On a personal note, Pat has been working at Cornerstone Funeral Home in Lethbridge as a Certified Life Celebrant and funeral assistant since 2016.

Pat is engaged to Tarah and he has two kids and two step-children.

News and sports have always been Pat’s passion from the time he was a teenager and he’s always been grateful to have had the opportunity to make that part of what’s been a fun and long radio career!

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