Nelson Neighbourhood Network Member Addresses Clubhouse, Inhalation Site Concerns
A 150-member strong Nelson Neighbourhood Network continues to advocate for a healthy downtown after forming last year.
What began as concerns surrounding Nelson’s Vernon Street Clubhouse has grown to opposition of the safe inhalation site set to open at that same location.
Network Member Murray Kimber tells Bounce Radio that regardless of where the safe inhalation site ultimately lands, the clubhouse location still needs to be addressed, as its impacts echo across the downtown:
“No one that I’ve talked to is against a supervised drug inhalation site, we’re just against it at the clubhouse and we’re against it until they can demonstrate that they can run that facility properly. Because what’s going on there doesn’t involve wellness, it doesn’t involve supervision, there’s no intervention going on, (and) it’s right next to a transitional housing facility with a zero drug tolerance policy….”
IHA has permitted people to seek shelter at the Clubhouse for the past couple of years, but Murray reports community interruptions stemming from emergency calls, a mess of drug paraphernalia and much more.
Kimber says when the group first inquired with an Interior Health representative about clubhouse concerns, the Authority instead believed they were asking about the impending safe inhalation site:
“We’d never heard about that before and that was in January of this year. We were actually talking about how we can establish a better operational model or some accountability for what was going on at the clubhouse. Then the inhalation site became another issue, but there has been no public consultation.”
Members of the public reportedly had the chance to ask BC's Deputy Premier Mike Farnworth and Attorney General Niki Sharma questions on Friday, the day after Bounce Radio sat down with the two as well as Nelson-Creston MLA Brittny Anderson.
Kimber says they learned that until Farnworth’s visit, he was unaware of the Clubhouse situation in Nelson:
“When the meeting ended he was fully aware of it and he made a public statement saying that he had some serious questions about how the clubhouse is being run and following that we noticed, finally, 24-hour security at that facility. So again this kind of reflects the lack of willingness on IHA’s part to be open.”
Kimber claims that Interior Health has not demonstrated willingness to consult and no formal public consultation has been held, despite what Bounce Radio heard from IHA, but it’s something that the group is still pushing for now.