Ward 3 councillor hopeful no disruptions will take place at Safepoint


The councillor for Ward 3 is hoping that Windsor will get what it was promised when it comes to the Safepoint site downtown.

The provincial government launched a "critical incident review" back in the summer, after a mother of two was killed by a stray bullet near a consumption site in Toronto's east end.

Associate Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Michael Tibollo was in Windsor on Friday, but couldn't provide a timeline for when those reviews may be complete.

The Windsor Essex County Health Unit has said they need to know one way or another ahead of November 20, when they meet again to make budget decisions for 2024 which will directly impact Safepoint.

Renaldo Agostino says he hears from residents in his ward on both sides of every issue, including the Safepoint debate.

He says some of the businesses in the area are satisfied, while others feel its causing people not to come to the area.

"In general there's been no issues that I've seen, well I've seen one. It's something that's going to continue day by day, week by week, month by month. It's work, you're looking at something that's really never been done before right. I'm certainly not against having reviews, we have our own here," he said.

Agostino says they need to continue to search for more ways, and better ways, to have a safer community while also bringing help to those people who need it where they're at.

Without provincial funding, he believes it will hard to keep the doors open at Safepoint.

"I bring up something that I heard the Mayor say once, which is at what point do we start building F-45s? Like, what's our responsibility as a community, what's our responsibility as a municipality? Are we supposed to start paying for everything, are fighter jets next? So I think it's going to be difficult, but hopefully cooler heads prevail, and hopefully everybody comes together as a community and we get things sorted out the right way."

Recently Agostino was speaking to a cohort in Ottawa, where they've had some serious issues, and he doesn't believe this is the government picking on Windsor by any means.

He says the government is looking at making things better, and with Safepoint still in operation, so until further notice they're going to keep trying to make things better at the local level.

"People around the province are looking at Windsor [and saying] what a great model. Because it's run by the health unit and the hospitals. Some of the places that have had issues, if you dig deep and look to see, they're not run the same way ours is. I get it, ours has been off to a slow start in some ways, but it's picking up," Agostino said.

WECHU has Health Canada approval to operate SafePoint as an urgent public health needs site at the corner of Wyandotte Street and Goyeau Street, but it needs approval from the province to be officially designated as a consumption and treatment services site which would include funding.