Barrie is facing a deadly toxic drug crisis. People are dying at an alarming rate, but there is a solution.
The Simcoe-Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is proposing two potential locations for a life-saving medical service called a Supervised Consumption Site (SCS) in the area where it's needed most - downtown Barrie.
Both proposed locations will save lives while improving issues that already exist in our community which is already one of the safest places to live in Canada. An SCS will offer much-needed support for people who live and work in the downtown while addressing some of the ongoing challenges in the area.
Downtown Barrie is for everyone to enjoy. Everyone deserves to feel safe in downtown Barrie.
We are asking everyone who has a stake in the downtown - residents, businesses, workers, visitors - everyone - to send a letter to key decision-makers to let them know how important this life-saving service is for our vibrant downtown core.
What's the issue?
What's the Solution?
Compassion and evidence.
The compassionate and evidence-based choice is a Supervised Consumption Site (SCS) in downtown Barrie. Not only will it save lives, but it will save money in the long-run and help make our community safer and more beautiful.
Peer-reviewed research and public health experts recommend this approach - let's listen to the science.
The Downtown Business Improvement Association (BIA) claims they have not "blocked or delayed" the process to get a Supervised Consumption Site (SCS) in Barrie.
This claim is FALSE. The process has been extended at the BIA's request to search for a third site, delaying the process while people die. In fact, the BIA has spent $28,000 to hire a PR firm to create their anti-SCS campaign. These funds should be used to build-up struggling businesses, not tear-down a life-saving service.
The Downtown BIA claims an SCS "could have a negative impact on the downtown community and our city as a whole as one of the safest places to live in Canada."
This claim is NOT SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE. The fact is that, "to date, peer-reviewed research has found no evidence linking supervised consumption sites (SCSs) to increased crime" (Source). It is irresponsible for the BIA to make these types of claims without supporting evidence.
The Downtown BIA claims they are "working collaboratively" with public health experts on the Site Selection Advisory Committee.
This claim is MISLEADING. The Downtown BIA refused to participate on the Site Selection Advisory Committee when first invited and only joined once two sites were already selected, delaying the process. This is not good faith engagement.
The Downtown BIA claims they are interested in a long-term solution such as a "community care hub model" to deliver services in the downtown.
This claim is MISLEADING. It appears this "hub model" is being used as an excuse to further delay the implementation of an SCS in downtown Barrie. While this may be an idea worth exploring, it was explored in the past, but fell through and it should never stand in the way of a life-saving service during a crisis. Any large scale health and social services project should be established in a transparent manner involving the whole community - not driven by BIA board members elected only by business and commercial property owners.
The Downtown BIA claims they "previously supported a proposed SCS location in Ward 2."
This claim is MISLEADING. It was a previous Board of Management that supported that proposed SCS location.
The Downtown BIA has claimed that they are "not opposing an SCS."
This claim is FALSE. While we wish it were true, the Downtown BIA passed a motion at its September 2020 Board of Management meeting that explicitly states: "The Downtown BIA does not support the existence of a safe consumption/injection site (SCS/SIS) within a one (1) kilometer radius of the current BIA boundary." To our knowledge, the BIA Board has yet to rescind this motion or issue a statement in support of an SCS.