Posted on Jun 22, 2018

Important Supervised Consumption Services Roundtable Update

A letter to constituents who had engaged my office regarding Supervised Consumption Services at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre:

I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to attend our roundtable regarding Supervised Consumption Services at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre. For those who couldn’t attend due to space limitations, I hope this update will address some initial concerns
 
As your MLA, it was important to me that your voice was heard by all parties responsible for the implementation, administration, and safety of SCS here in our community.
 
Alberta Health Services (AHS) is aware of your concerns and have begun taking steps to address them. Some of these steps include:

  • Increased patrols of protective services staff to discourage loitering in the area, asnd enhance public safety,
  • Increased refuse collection and pressure washing in the area,
  • Signage instructing clients to refrain from obstructing walkways, and to be mindful of the surrounding community,
  • Discussions regarding increasing AHS staff on site in order to better meet the client demand and to discourage loitering in the area.

AHS recognizes that they may not have fully understood the community impacts that have now begun to become apparent, and are committed to working to be better neighbours to the residents and businesses of the Beltline. In order to facilitate this ongoing work, it is important that AHS hears from you so that they can work to address any new challenges that may arise as they continue their work to save lives. Please make sure to send any questions, concerns and feedback to: scs.calgary@ahs.ca or by calling 1-855-550-2555.

My office is committed to working with AHS and City staff on solutions to address the issues that have been raised by residents and businesses in the area. We will work to keep the community updated on progress as we move forward.
 
As you heard at the meeting, it’s important for residents to contact 311 Calgary when you encounter any debris, such as needles, so that staff can properly dispose of the materials, and keep track of the needs in the area. The more you report, the more information the city has in order to maintain proper service in the area. It is important that needles are mentioned to the 311 operator or included in the comment box if reporting online. The request may be transferred to Calgary 911 and the Calgary Fire Department will be dispatched for immediate response.
 
Councillor Woolley’s office has informed us that the Parks division has heard your feedback and begun a daily protective services patrol in Memorial Park..
 
The Beltline Neighbourhoods and local BIAs have also offered to work with their members to help distribute information on how our community can ensure that service requests for needle clean up can be properly registered and handled by the City in a timely manner.
 
Regarding public safety, as with AHS, and the City of Calgary, it is important for Calgary Police Service (CPS) to hear from residents when these incidents occur in our community. The non-emergency contact number for CPS is: 403-266-1234.

If you have any other public safety concerns please see the Calgary Police phone directory:
https://www.calgary.ca/cps/Pages/Calgary-Police-phone-directory.aspx

The CPS Vulnerable Persons Team also offers resources that may prove helpful in addressing some of the issues that have been raised so far. Specifically, The Downtown Outreach Addictions Program (DOAP):
 

DOAP is a service that helps link those who come into contact with individuals that have substance abuse issues with the appropriate social service agency. It is also an alternative response to calling 911 for someone who is intoxicated in the community. The DOAP team can help transport those under the influence of any drug and or alcohol for addiction treatment and related appointments.
 

Contact DOAP:

  • DOAP Outreach: 403-998-7388 (cell) – Operates 24/7
  • DOAP Encampment Team (for people sleeping outside): 403-805-7388 (cell) - Operates Monday-Friday 8am-4pm.

In addition, if you encounter an individual who may be exhibiting signs of a mental health crisis, you can contact 211 for help in connecting to mental health intervention support services.
 
Finally, our office will work with AHS, the Ministry of Health, City of Calgary staff, and Calgary Police Services to help develop a more streamlined and fulsome process for community conversations and input regarding the impacts of Supervised Consumption Services in the community.
 
I hope you find this summary a helpful first step – my office will continue to work with the community on these and future issue to ensure supervised consumption services are implemented properly so they can continue to save lives, and improve health and safety for Albertans. Once again, I want to thank everyone who took the time to reach out to our office and share your concerns, and am looking forward to working with all of you to deliver solutions that will make a difference for our community.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Hon. Kathleen Ganley
MLA for Calgary-Buffalo