The debate over a safe injection site in Kelowna continues to gain steam as community members take sides on the controversial topic.
The Downtown Kelowna Association has come out against the Interior Health Authority’s proposed Leon Avenue location, due to public safety concerns.
On the opposing side, some other leading community members are pushing for the proposed location as they believe safe-injection sites are critical in saving lives.
Kelowna NDP candidate in the last federal election and college professor, Norah Bowman, penned a letter this week supporting Safe Injection Facilities (SIF) in both Kelowna and Kamloops.
She found support from several other health professionals, community leaders, academics and front line workers who signed the letter along with her.
“I wanted to express support for them from a data-driven perspective as well as showing compassion for how difficult and emotional this issue is,” said Bowman.
“I really want to encourage compassionate and friendly public democratic discussion about this and not turn it into two angry sides. I think everyone wants a beautiful, safe city and people just need to talk about it.”
She said she wants to encourage an open, honest and kind conversation on the topic and she hopes residents will utilize the Interior Health online tool to submit their thoughts on SIFs.
The original letter itself, which you can read here, is now gaining traction as those in support of the letter are sharing it online through social media and asking others to sign their name.
“SIF facilities save lives: peer-reviewed studies show that fatal overdoses in areas served by an SIF decrease by close to 50 per cent. SIF facilities do not increase street crime; in fact, reliable studies show that they correlate with a significant decrease in vehicle-break in,” reads one section of the letter.
To submit your own thoughts on the topic email firstname.lastname@example.org.