Chamber pushes for overdose site at Vernon 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 OPS 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

Vernon Winter Carnival names board

Carnival set for milestone 60th annual event - Carnival Remembers teh 60s – in February 2020

BC Transit incorporates North Okanagan route changes

Changes coming June 2 to routes in Coldstream and Armstrong

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

UPDATED 6:15 P.M.: Serious accident closes portion of Highway 6 in Vernon

Car and pickup involved in collision near Pottery Road just after 5 p.m.; detours around scene

Vernon baseball players land U.S. deals, help teammate battle cancer

Four Vernon players on Okanagan Athletics heading south to play ball at college

Weather holds up for Rutland May Days

60th annual May Day midway, market and entertainment saw hundreds of attendees

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

South Okanagan runners take top spots in Peach City RunFest

Both the top male and female half-marathon winners were from Penticton

Former Greyhound Canada employees gather in Okanagan to say a final farewell

“Greyhound may take our jobs but they will never take our friendships,” says former bus driver

Kelowna firefighters douse blaze in hedges

The cause of the fire on Renfrew Road is under investigation.

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Okanagan Springtime Regatta draws more than 50 sailboats

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

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read