The community deserves some straight answers on the future of the pop-up injection site in Raphael Brunet Park. So far, we’ve had a lot of passing the buck over jurisdiction rather than a constructive conversation about long-term solutions. The city seems reluctant to order the site closed, and there's even a dispute over whether it blocked a request to have the tents heated for the winter.
What’s missing from the situation is some leadership. Politicians, public health officials, neighbourhood residents and representatives of Overdose Prevention Ottawa should sit down together and plan a clear, specific and timely transition to a permanent facility, one that will ensure both that services are available to people in need and that the neighbourhood gets its park back.
There’s a strong argument to be made for the fact that the injection service has saved lives. But that only goes so far. An unauthorized injection service offered in a community park is not a permanent fix. Instead of the delicate dance and the finger-pointing that all the players are participating in now, everyone should start working together to find a lasting solution.