City council has directed staff to make the scout hall available for drug counselling and information workshops, according to Coun. Christine Thompson.
“We want to encourage suffering addicts who want to get better and attend rehab without their being stigmatized,” Thompson told The Gazette Thursday, Nov. 25. Rumours that the scout hall is being made available at the exclusion of other groups or that drug counsellors will be handing out “drug paraphernalia” are baseless and unfortunate, she said.
“I saw that on Facebook. I very rarely post to Facebook unless I have something important to say and I have responded.”
Following a Nov. 8 council resolution, city staff arranged for the AIDS Network Kootenay Outreach and Support Society (ANKORS) to use the space twice per month for three hours. Drug use and smoking are strictly prohibited at ANKORS’ meetings at the hall, Thompson said.
“The purpose of these meetings is for drug counselling. The purpose is not for a needle exchange or to hand out other paraphernalia involved in drug use,” she stressed.
Thompson strongly supported making the space available when the issue came up at chambers Monday, Nov. 8. ANKORS desperately needed an indoor space for its meetings, she told council.
“December can be pretty damn cold and they don’t have anywhere to meet right now. They’re probably meeting outside and that causes me concern,” she said, speaking against Coun. Cathy Korolek’s suggestion that the resolution take effect in the new year.
Coun. Neil Krog asked for assurance that the scout hall be insured “if they burn it down, or whatever the case may be.” The building is covered by the city’s insurance, a city hall staffer said.
Council then unanimously voted for the motion.
ANKORS was not available for comment when The Gazette went to press Monday, Nov. 29.