Barrie, opioid

Dear Evelyn and Melissa,

Dear Evelyn and Melissa,

I was faced with a very difficult decision last night at City Council. In the wake of being part of the final vote which would send an application to the Federal Government for a site in which I endorse and agree saves lives, I was disheartened to see that answers to questions that were deserving, were still missing, and that consultation with the residents surrounding Barrie’s suggested safe consumption site at 90 Mulcaster Street had not, in many resident’s opinions, been completed. Many of the residents who read deputations were not against the safe consumption site, but they were against not having their voices heard…some at all; and I as a City Councillor who chose to be the voice of many, had a problem with that.

I knew when I raised my concerns about the lack of public consultation and questionable adherence to guidelines surrounding this site, that I would be seen by some as a deserter; I was prepared for this. But as you both know I am a huge proponent of any and all treatment that would assist and even save the lives of those battling with addiction. Together we have sat at the Simcoe Muskoka Opioid Strategy (SMOS) table several times to ask questions and encourage more action towards helping those, and their families, who are affected by addiction. Together you helped me to be the only City Councillor to ask for Barrie to declare a public emergency on the opioid crisis. Together we have met with the Director of the Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) Centre, and I have spoken at public town halls in favour of finding answers to help those who don’t even know that their family will be ravaged by opioids and addiction.

My fear last night was that if we (City Council and SMOS) submit an application to the Federal Government that is incomplete, our application will get passed by; and I’m not ok with that. We need to do this right! And last night several Councillors asked for more answers to application questions, and site options, as well as for more time for the public consultation that the residents deserve.

I am in this 100%. I am sorry I couldn’t vote in favour of an application that is flawed by an extreme lack of public consultation. I want the Federal Government to accept our application and approve it. I am sad that it couldn’t be sent last night – but I am confident that with the extra time (that we sadly need), that a fulsome consultation and completed application will be sent and approved.

Sincerely,

Natalie Harris

City Councillor Ward 6 Barrie