Victoria supervised consumption site to go mobile
Registered nurse Sammy Mullally holds a tray of supplies to be used by a drug addict at the Insite safe injection clinic in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday May 11, 2011. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
VICTORIA -- Downtown Victoria’s supervised consumption site will transition to a mobile service during the COVID-19 pandemic, starting Friday.
The Harbour, a supervised consumption centre located at 941 Pandora Ave., is switching to a mobile approach to ensure that overdose prevention services can continue while still adhering to physical distancing guidelines.
The Harbour will focus on working with people who are living in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue to provide harm reduction and prevent overdoses.
Meanwhile, the Harbour building will remain open, but only as a triage centre for homeless people who are experiencing respiratory symptoms.
Island Health says that it is continuing to work with the City of Victoria and BC Housing to create shelter facilities for homeless people in the region.
The health authority is also working to create sanitation stations and other outdoor health services for the homeless community as construction of shelters at Royal Athletic Park and Topaz Park continues.
On Monday, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said that construction of the outdoor homeless shelters is a “top priority,” but is going to take some time to complete.
“Moving people inside is not happening quickly,” she said. “Setting up Royal Athletic Park is a massive endeavor.”
Helps added that both the city and province were working on securing indoor shelter options for people in the community. As of Tuesday, Victoria had secured 115 motel rooms for homeless people to stay in.
Meanwhile, overdose prevention sites in other areas of the island will continue to operate in their facilities.
Island Health says that services in Cowichan, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Campbell River and Port Alberni will limit the number of people allowed inside a facility at one time to allow for physical distancing.