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Hundreds march to Richmond city hall to oppose quashed supervised consumption site


Hundreds of demonstrators rallied in Richmond on Family Day in opposition to city council’s recent vote to explore a local supervised consumption site, despite health officials already having quashed the idea.

Attendees gathered at Minoru Park before marching on city hall, many of them carrying professionally printed signs reading “No more silence.”

CTV News observed a case of “Shame on You Day” signs being distributed to the crowd outside the nearby Richmond Public Library. There were also handmade placards and banners reading “Vote them out,” “(Mayor Malcom) Brodie must go,” and other slogans.

A favourite statement was, “The silent majority has awakened.”

The event was intentionally organized for Family Day by several groups, including one calling itself “Voice for Kids in Richmond,” to emphasize their concerns around children’s safety and well-being. Attendees repeatedly chanted “No drugs.”

Speaking English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, an array of local residents, aspiring Conservative Party candidates and organizers reiterated concerns and sometimes misinformation that’d been voiced last week at a city hall, where they felt they were dismissed and brushed aside by mayor and council, who voted 7-2 in favour of exploring a supervised consumption site at Richmond Hospital.

Days after the hearings erupted in vocal clashes, with threats sent to at least one councillor, Vancouver Coastal Health issued a statement shooting down the proposal and stating it was not “the most appropriate” service for the city. B.C. Premier David Eby addressed the idea one day prior, questioning whether it was necessary.

Despite the pressure from constituents, Richmond’s mayor told CTV News officials will "have more discussions with Vancouver Coastal Health” about providing supervised consumption sites in his city.

While the provincial government has been trying to fund and open new treatment beds as quickly as possible, the effort has been slow, and until a year ago they weren’t even tracking how many weeks or months people are being kept on waitlists for services

Harm reduction advocates have repeatedly pointed out that no one has died at any of Vancouver’s 12 supervised consumption sites, and that more than 2,500 people died from toxic drugs in British Columbia last year alone.

Speaking with attendees at Monday’s rally, some expressed the opinion the federal government is advocating for drug use by decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of illicit drugs, with one of the speakers at the microphone declaring “I want to see Richmond as a clean city.”

It’s important to note, British Columbia police chiefs had been early advocates of decriminalization alongside medical professionals and researchers, provided that it was combined with programs for treatment and prevention. Top Stories

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