Future of pop-up injection site unclear as Public Health appeals for interim site

Overdose Prevention Ottawa says it's unsure if it will close down its pop-up injection site despite the fact Ottawa Public Health is working to open an interim facility.

OPH said Tuesday it wants have an injection site up-and-running at 179 Clarence Street, in the ByWard Market, as soon as possible.

OPO organizer Marilou Gagnon calls the interim site a big win, and says volunteers at the pop-up site are ready to help Ottawa Public Health with an interim site on Clarence.

But it's unclear whether they'll close down their tent Raphael Brunet Park, now in its 20th day of operation.

Gagnon says the pop-up tent in Lowertown may remain if they don't feel the interim site is enough.

“If Public Health, in collaboration with us, provides this service that I think the population needs in this area, then I see no reason for us to necessarily stay there and do the exact same thing,” she says. “But there are different needs in the city, and it doesn’t mean we’re not going to pop up somewhere else.”

The interim site would be open seven days a week but the exact hours of operation have not yet been announced.

Gagnon says if the interim site won’t be open in the evening, the pop-up site will likely stay in the park.

“If they are not providing the service during the evening, then we will have to continue,” she says. “We can’t not provide that service. Obviously, it’s very popular in the evening, too.”

A permanent injection site is expected to open in Sandy Hill in late October.