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Drugs in Public Places

Since drugs were decriminalized by the B.C. government in a controversial experiment this year, Council has heard constant concerns and complaints from citizens about open drug use and discarded drug paraphernalia in public places. I want people to feel comfortable walking on downtown streets, in public parks and squares, and not to be confronted with people opening using and showing the affects of drugs. We do not allow smoking in public places, or open drinking of alcohol in parks and playgrounds. So to allow drug use makes no sense at all. I want to change that, as do Councils in other cities. Kamloops, for example, has passed a nuisance bylaw banning illicit drug use within 100m of municipal parks or playgrounds or on any sidewalk; places where it would "negatively interfere with the public's use and enjoyment of such places."

So...I have brought forward a motion directing City staff to "prepare a report on options to regulate the use of controlled substances in public space including a summary of steps being proposed in other B.C. communities following provincial decriminalization." I am not proposing a bylaw at this point, though I may in future. I want advice on options to protect our public. My motion passed 5-4, and I admit I was disappointed that Councillors Manly, Geselbracht, Brown, and Eastmure did not support it. I look forward to receiving the staff report and taking next steps.


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