Chamber pushes for overdose site at North Okanagan hospital

Interior Health urged to keep OPS out of downtown Vernon

Pressure is being applied to keep a proposed overdose prevention site out of downtown Vernon.

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce directors and staff met with Interior Health representatives Friday, May 17 to discuss plans to establish an OPS in Vernon.

Based on what the chamber is hearing from its members and the community, a key message to IH was that an overdose prevention site not be located in the downtown core of Vernon.

“We appreciate that IH is mandated by the provincial government to respond to overdose deaths, and the strategy includes an OPS. The determination of a suitable location for the OPS is critical to the success of the program, as is the acceptance of the SOP by businesses and the community at large,” said Diana Wilson, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

See: IHA pulls Vernon RFP for overdose prevention site

“Our members are telling us they are very concerned that an OPS in the downtown core will compound existing safety concerns and decrease property values. There is a strong level of compassion among business owners and they want individuals to be able to access the help they need, but they are also seeking assurances that their businesses and customers will not be negatively impacted by an OPS.”

The chamber recommended that an OPS be located at or adjacent to Vernon Jubilee Hospital.

“The hospital is within a short walking distance of downtown and there are a range of services available at the hospital, particularly during an emergency,” said Wilson.

Further to this, the chamber suggested that the selection of an OPS location follow a distinct process, separate from the request for proposal for the OPS service provider. The selection process and criteria for an appropriate OPS location needs to consider the economic and social impact of the OPS site on neighbouring businesses and their customers.

“We also stated that any service providers bidding on the OPS need to detail how they will engage with businesses and the community before a facility opens and once it is open. There must be a long-term commitment to meaningful communications from both the OPS service provider and IH,” said Wilson.

See: Chamber insists on community input for Vernon overdose prevention site

It is anticipated that a revised request for proposal will be issued by IH after May 24.

“We thank Interior Health for meeting with the chamber and hearing our concerns and suggestions. We look forward to having any further discussion that may be required and are hopeful that the RFP process will be amended to better reflect what is best for Vernon,” said Wilson.


@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

Sicamous RCMP catch driver going twice the speed limit

The car was impounded for seven days and the driver received a hefty fine

Transport truck driver walks away from crash where cab detaches from trailer

Driver won’t be charged regarding incident near Pritchard

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

Province looks to seize Kelowna home owned by alleged drug trafficker

Michelle Collins and Nigel Byrne were also recently investigated by Kelowna RCMP for drug trafficking

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Highway 1 closed after body found near Hope

Coroners Service reportedly on the scene, highway has been closed for 10 hours in both directions

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Oyama Zipline Adventure Park opening for the season

The Lake Country zipline is scheduled to open on June 12

No criminality in the 2019 death of woman found on Kelowna beach

Caitlin was found deceased on Gyro Beach on April 21, 2019

Most Read