So, it looks like the fall is upon us rather quickly and with that I wanted to give you a quick recap of some of the programming we hosted this summer.
Keeping kids busy was part of the agenda this summer with our sports programs run by Grace Kuipers. We hosted a basketball program Monday nights at the rink and a non-competitive soccer program at Giovanni Caboto Park on Wednesdays during July and August. Across the two weekly nights we saw about 50 kids registered. A big thanks to the parent volunteers and coaches who came out to make these programs a big success.
Board newcomer Lily Mounma also ran a gardening program out of a vacant lot that her family owns and kids took part in growing swiss chard, herbs, beets, radishes, carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, and lettuce. It was a hands-on experience for all and the kids learned lots about tending a garden in an urban setting and collaborating to ensure the crops were a success.
On a different note, I sit on the Community Liaison Committee for Supervised Consumptions Sites. This committee is made up of representatives from Alberta Health Services, The City of Edmonton, George Spady Centre, Boyle McCauley Health Centre, Boyle Street Community Services, the Institute of Health Economics, Edmonton Police Services, Street Works, REACH, and community leagues including Boyle Street, Central McDougall, and McCauley. The committee meets once a quarter for the next two years with the intent of reviewing the status of the safe consumption sites.
Presently, two of the three sites have been open since March of this year. They have seen a total of approximately 15,000 visits to the locations at Boyle Street Community Services and George Spady. The Boyle McCauley Health Centre site is slated to be open mid-October pending a successful inspection by Health Canada. The 15,000 visits represent about 492 unique individuals who have used the centres. There have been a number of referrals to subsequent services for users who have expressed a desire to address their addiction issues. Of note, there were over 102 overdoses that were successfully reversed using Naloxone at Boyle Street alone. As some may know, the Royal Alexandra Hospital also provides supervised consumption services for inpatient care, not walk-in. On October 16, Boyle Street Community Services will be hosting a guided tour of the facility. This is a good chance to meet the staff at the centre and ask questions and clear up any misconceptions one may have about the services. To register for the tour please, contact Boyle Street Community Services (780-424-4106).
From a resident and community perspective, like most I have been concerned about what felt like an increase in public intravenous drug use in and around our community this summer. This appears to be a trend that use in on the increase. This may be in part to an increased supply rather than an increase in users. In the meantime, the best thing we can do is report incidents to the City’s 311 line. The more reports and information gathered the better focus on problems related to the issue.
In response to an item I raised in May about better communication, the City has produced an infographic that describes how to safely dispose of needles found on private property. I have asked for additional cards that we can distribute to our community members and help inform residents what to do. If you have questions or items you would like me to bring to the committee please feel free to email me at the League: firstname.lastname@example.org.