Opponents of new health and wellness centre being flipped the middle finger

What kind of leadership do we have in the Cowichan Valley if our children are not a priority?

Opponents of new health and wellness centre being flipped the middle finger

I find it disturbing that Island Health can put an injection site in a community without any discussion with the people who live here. The idea of an injection site so close to four schools is appalling. Of course Island Health does not live here, but their attitude of “we don’t need your permission” is nothing more than legalized bullying. Hundreds marched in protest and they are not just being ignored, they are basically being flipped the middle finger.

And where is our local representative, who we expect to stand up for our community and keep the provincial government from doing stuff like this? It turns out that she is in favour of this site. The Cowichan Leadership Group, that Sonia Furstenau is a member of, approved the new injection site to be located on York Street last April. She publicly commented that “having one, easily accessible place where people can come for mental health and substance use supports will contribute significantly to the health and wellness of our entire region.” There was not mention of this “easily accessible place” being close to a residential area and four schools.

The Leadership Group is made up of all of the valley’s government leaders. And not one of them thought it might be a good idea to talk to the members of the community who live in that area or to the school board that has four schools in that area. What kind of leadership do we have in the Cowichan Valley if our children are not a priority?

I think maybe Island Health needs to get off their high horse and actually have a dialogue with people who live in that neighbourhood and whose children attend those schools. I think our elected members of this Leadership Group need to be part of that conversation too. The excuse that the York Street location is the “only available place” in the Cowichan Valley is not a very good reason to park an injection site near four schools. Poor planning should not have such an adverse affect on our children.

Suzanne Anderson



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