Funding will continue until June but discussions are now underway on who is going to pick up the tab if a pending grant application is rejected.
One thing is for sure, it won’t be the City of Quesnel.
Mayor Bob Simpson…
“It is not our program, we do not distribute these needles, it is Northern Health that distributes the needles and other agencies and it’s BC Housing that facilitates that, and they should be picking up the tab for picking them up.”
Simpson says Council needs to take a very strong position on that.
That said, there is a grant application in to continue the program.
Councillor Mitch Vik, also the Chair of the Executive Committee, provided an update at Tuesday night’s Council meeting.
“As part of the recent Strengthening Communities grant application which we made not long ago, needle clean-up was identified as one project within that application. And should we get approval on that grant we will have funding for needle clean-up.”
Vik said talks were also underway as a contingency plan.
“Staff will continue to engage with community partners, including BC Housing, the Business Improvement Areas and the Shelter Society to determine how to best support the continuation of this program. We all agreed that it’s very necessary in our community, certainly from a public safety and health perspective. It’s an important program so we’ll continue to make sure that we do what we can to keep this program continuing.”
Councillor Ron Paull wanted to know if the number of needles being found was going up, down, or was about the same.
While he didn’t have any specific numbers, Vik said they felt that it was fairly consistent.