Councillor wants mental health money to help businesses affected by safe consumption site
A Calgary city councillor is hoping to offset safety and security costs being borne around the Safeworks Harm Reduction Program and other drug use hotspots in the city.
Ward 11 Coun. Jeromy Farkas will table a motion July 22, asking council to look at the using money from the $25-million Mental Health and Addiction Strategy.
“There’s still at least $8 million available toward other projects,” said Farkas.
“The lion’s share of funding so far has been toward community investment.”
Farkas believes the money can help with cleanup, security and repair costs for residents and businesses near the supervised consumption site located at the Sheldon Chumir Centre at 4th Street and 13th Avenue S.W.
“If they’re on the hook for certain improvements and repairs, I think it’s only fitting for the city to help play a role in facilitating that,” he said.
William Lawrence is a co-owner of Shelf Life Books located near the Sheldon Chumir Centre. He says the increase in drug users in the area has lead to a spike in crime.
"Last year we had someone break a windown in order to steal a book," recounted Lawrence. "The book is $20 and the window is over $1,000 from the time it gets replaced."
Farkas adds he would also like to see support for residents around the Alpha House, a facility near the intersection of Macleod Trail and 15th Avenue S.E. for people battling substance dependency, following reports of harassment, assaults, break-ins and vandalism.