A report by Campbell River RCMP shows it cost nearly $300,000 in the last two years to police the overdose prevention site on Dogwood Street.
The Mounties also used an equivalent of 1.4 full-time officers for calls to the building, mainly for cases categorized as mischief and causing a disturbance.
The two year period to the end of May 2022 has been the time since Vancouver Island Mental Health Society’s Sobering and Assessment Center replaced AVI Health and Community Services as the regional health agency’s overdose prevention provider.
The report, reviewed at a Tuesday city council meeting, shows there were 453 calls to the center in the first two years – more than any other location in the city. That’s about 19 a month on average.
Coun. Ron Kerr says the numbers are “shocking” and proof that BC Housing and Island Health’s harm reduction strategy is going “off the rails.” He’s concerned the problem is only going to get worse with the federal government’s opioid supply program.
“(W)hich is only going to bring more users, more addicts into the area without accountability. There does not seem to be the accountability on Island Health and BC Housing in terms of dealing with off-site individuals,” Kerr said.
While Kerr suggested the center has “thrown out the window” the good neighbour policy that included cleanup of surrounding areas, Coun. Claire Moglove said there has been some progress on that front.
Moglove says the statistics will be useful when making their case at the Union of BC Municipalities conference for a continuous stream of money for security and cleanliness from the B.C. government.
Coun. Colleen Evans called the amount of RCMP resources “very disconcerting” and that the city was caught in a situation with no solution when there’s no secure funding from the B.C. government.