CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Forest Lawn’s Community Association is withdrawing its support for the safe consumption mobile vehicle.
The community group made the decision after the release of a crime report that showed Calgary police service calls had significantly increased around the permanent site at the Sheldon Chumir in Beltline.
“Initially we had supported the project, obviously something needs to be done about the overdose deaths that are happening in East Calgary and Forest Lawn as well,” said president Will Carnegie.
“We really ended up coming up with the idea that supporting this is a good idea, but after the report that came out, and it kind of associated with the amount of crime and violent crime that was associated with the Sheldon Chumir consumption site, we decided to pull our support for the project.”
Carnegie is aware that East Village has the second highest rate of overdose deaths in the city, next to downtown, and they’re not opposed to the solution. It’s the risk to the community that has them concerned.
“There is no way that I could live with supporting something that increases the violent crime rate, break-ins, vehicle thefts, all these kind of things,” he said.
Prior to having any figures on the crime increase, he said they were under the assumption that this would have a minimal impact on the community.
The Forest Lawn Community Association says it still reserves the right to change its position, they would like to see a crime report conducted that details measures that have been put in place around the Chumir.
Carnegie added that Calgary Police Service has assured them they plan to patrol the community and are taking the concerns seriously.
The local community leader would also like to see neighbourhood patrols, an increase in police officers, and an increase in transparency from HIV Community Link.
Safeworks at the Sheldon Chumir recently received an exemption from Health Canada on several conditions including crime reduction initiatives.
Coun. Evan Woolley has also introduced a notice of motion calling for several new safety measures including an increase in police officers.