City council and the provincial Mental Health and Addictions minister say they will work together on Campbell River’s drug crisis.
On Wednesday, Mayor Kermit Dahl and councilors met with Minister Jennifer Whiteside and North Island MLA Michele Babchuk in Victoria. They discussed how to address harms from substance use, and the city’s reasons for proposing to ban illicit drug use in certain public spaces.
Council recently gave the first reading to an amendment to the public nuisance bylaw, which would ban illicit drug use in specific places, including the Spirit Square, near the Library and Tidemark Theatre, schools, and playgrounds. It will be back before council in early June.
The ministry said enforcement and bylaws that restrict use do not address underlying causes of addiction and will increase the likelihood of people using drugs alone, which can be life-threatening.
Other BC municipalities are considering bylaws to grapple with public drug use. Kamloops recently passed a law banning illicit drug use in parks and on sidewalks. Maple Ridge, Penticton and Prince George are considering similar proposals.