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

Okanagan Regional Library hosts famous author

Author of The Woo Woo, Lindsay Wong will be in Kelowna Tuesday

Mainly sunny Victoria Day in Okanagan-Shuswap

The South Okanagan is the hottest spot to be in the province for Victoria Day

Kayaker still missing as COSAR continues aerial searches

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Kelowna Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

Sailors treated to windy, excellent long weekend conditions on Okanagan Lake

Get those flowers competition ready

Gardeners will come together June 29, for the 22nd Juried Flower Show

VIDEO: It’s warming up across the Okanagan Valley

Grey skies are expected to fade and the sun looks like it’s here to stay

Update: Plan to see more smoke from South Okanagan wildfire

Richter Creek wildfire, 12 kilometres west of Osoyoos, is an estimated 400 hectares

North Okanagan tattoo fundraiser draws record support

Lineup around the block for start and beginning of Five Fathoms Tattoo event for Children’s Hospital

Police watchdog investigating motorcycle crash in Kamloops

A Kamloops Mountie had stopped the driver for speeding, but they raced off from the 0fficer

North Okanagan crash claims a father

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Letter: More cell towers, more radiation

The ever increasing electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is creating a hell-on-earth situation for… Continue reading

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

The father and two youngesters fell down a steep and treachorous cliff while hiking on Burke Mountain

Most Read