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Campbell River council walks back social services decentralization plan

It’s back to the drawing board on a plan for delivering Campbell River social services.

City council rescinded the first two readings of a rezoning bylaw that would have seen future soup kitchens and safe injection sites outside the downtown – particularly in the Ironwood area.

Coun. Charlie Cornfield says it’s “quite obvious” how the community felt after a three hour public meeting last month.

“The situation that we’re dealing with requires compassion and it requires understanding but it requires action too. What we’ve got is not working and it needs to change. We have to come up with a different strategy,” Cornfield said.

Coun. Ron Kerr says the zoning needs to be better crafted but the current situation in the downtown is the fault of all levels of government.

In supporting the rescinding, Coun. Claire Moglove said she heard three themes: a lack of communication to those most affected by the rezoning, the idea of moving the “problem” to another area, and the rezoning was not going to solve the issue.

But she says the city is limited in what it can do.

“The city cannot build a mental health facility. The city cannot build an addiction recovery center. We can lobby for it. We can provide land. But we can’t build it. We’re limited to money for security, cleanup and the advocacy that we do constantly,” she said.

City staff are now tasked with coming up with a new strategy.

No timeline has been set for when a new rezoning plan would come back to council.

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