Photo credit to MyLethbridgeNow.comn (Pat Siedlecki)
UPDATE: The City of Lethbridge has confirmed a fine was issued to the organizer of a group that’s been operating an unsanctioned drug injection site in local parks.
The make-shift SCS went up in Galt Gardens Friday night and moved to a spot in the Civic Centre field downtown on Saturday.
It’s being run by a new group called the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society.
On Monday night, the organizer of the group was given a ticket for “failing to be able to provide an approved permit” in relation to the tent being used.
The fine associated with that bylaw offence is $300.
Lethbridge’s Bylaw Enforcement Officer says he’ll be investigating an unsanctioned supervised drug injection site to see if there’s anything that can be done from the City’s standpoint.
The make-shift SCS went up in Galt Gardens Friday night and moved to a spot in the Civic Centre field downtown on Saturday (Sept. 25-26).
Dave Henley told City Council’s Community Issues Committee on Monday that it’s a complicated issue. “Lethbridge Police attended on two nights and they observed absolutely no criminal activity occurring. They’ve seen a tent erected. We need to understand the root of what that problem is. Is the problem the activity associated or is it simply the tent?”
Henley says the only part of this supervised consumption site that can be addressed by the City is organizers setting up the tent without a permit.
Mayor Chris Spearman told our radio station he was first notified of the pop-up SCS tent on Saturday morning. He says setting up a tent or holding an event in a City of Lethbridge park does require a permit.
Alberta’s UCP government, however says this unsanctioned make-shift drug injection site is illegal and has asked both the City of Lethbridge and Lethbridge Police to “enforce the law.” Alberta Health Services has been providing supervised drug consumption services at a mobile overdose prevention site outside the shelter since the ARCHES-run SCS shut its doors a few weeks ago.
As for drug activity, Henley told Councillors that is a police matter. “Whether they (Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society) can provide that service, whether they can provide it legally, whether they can allow supervised drug injection, that’s not what the bylaw is dealing with. What the bylaw can deal with is whether that tent is there and if that tent is there without a permit then you can take some action.”
A small group of citizens upset about the pop-up tent SCS protested out in front of City Hall on Monday afternoon.