It’s understandable that people in a Lowertown neighbourhood want to know when a pop-up injection site will be taken down from their park. But we shouldn’t condemn the volunteers who set up the tent. They were filling a void left wide open in a crisis, while other solutions were taking too long to materialize.
We’d never have needed a pop-up site if the community had more proactively responded to the many warnings about the looming fentanyl crisis. But now that an interim site has been established just two blocks away, the dynamics have changed. And this situation is crying out for some leadership on all sides. An illegal pop-up site in a park is not a permanent solution.
And while it’s true that the site has saved lives, Overdose Prevention Ottawa shouldn’t overplay its hand. Its leaders should sit down with city officials and agree on the best way to deliver all of the required services to the community in proper legal facilities. The volunteers who set up the pop-up site should be thanked. But the permanent solution is not a tent in a neighbourhood park.