North Cowichan and the Cowichan School Board are offering to help find another location for the injection site on York Street.
But where were Rob Douglas, Mayor, and Cathy Schmidt, School Board Chair when 400 plus concerned parents, grandparents and citizens of the Cowichan Valley marched in protest trying to stop the Injection Site from setting up within blocks of 4 schools, the Sportsplex, the Library, and the Cowichan Community Centre?
As we walked past the now defunct Kim’s Chinese Restaurant that operated for many years at the corner of York and Beverley Streets, poor Mr. Kim stood in the window of his restaurant, not daring to come out for fear of retaliation, but holding a sign on which the words “Thank You” were written for us to see. Meanwhile a group of people stood on the other side of the street and one of them was so stoned that she squatted down on the side of the road and shat in full view of all of us walking by. This was caught by the CTV cameraman and incorporated into their newscast on the protest march.
Mr. Kim wasn’t the only grateful person. There was an elderly woman with a walker on the grounds of the first blue apartment block who walked beside the marchers whispering thank you as we went by.
There were a number of speakers that day, but the one that made a tremendous impression on me was a teenage student who said that she hoped to “never have to see men’s genitalia again”. This was before the Injection Site went in! You can imagine how much worse it became after the site opened! The only politicians we saw at that protest were Tek Manhas, of the North Cowichan Municipality and Randy Doman of the Cowichan School Board.
Duncan traditionally has had a small group of homeless people, but this number increased after the injection site opened with people coming from other areas greatly expanding our homeless numbers. Also, unfortunately, crime has increased dramatically since the injection site opened. Putting in an injection site has been a terrible experiment for our community.
We feel heartbroken for those with mental health and addiction issues. But putting an injection site into our community has proven that it doesn’t help them. The Province must act to build rehabilitation facilities for those with mental health and addiction issues that are readily available and, if necessary, long-term. What is our Council and School Board thinking of to help find another injection site to harm some other area of our community?
I believe that a letter of apology is owed to those with the foresight to protest and try and stop the injection site.
John & Carol Money