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Richmond mayor says conversations with health authority will continue after safe consumption site rejected

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie is seen in this undated file photo. Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie is seen in this undated file photo.

With Vancouver Coastal Health quashing Richmond's proposal to explore a supervised consumption site near the hospital, the city's mayor says conversations with the health authority will continue.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie spoke on CTV Morning Live Friday, saying council has been concerned about the growing number of drug-related deaths in the city. Twenty-six people died from toxic drugs in Richmond last year.

"That's 26 people in the community, 26 people who have stories, 26 people who had a future, they have family, they have friends, they have loved ones and I don't feel that we can just ignore that," Brodie said. "So what we wanted to do, and the resolution said this, was to talk about whether it would be practical and feasible to have Vancouver Coastal Health set up a safe consumption site in the hospital. And so we got the answer from Vancouver Coastal Health within a few hours."

Council voted after two days of passionate debate that saw dozens of residents share their opinion on the proposed site. Brodie said there was some confusion on what the motion was even trying to do.

"This has been part of the challenge is to communicate exactly what has been the resolution that was put on the floor," he said, reiterating the city itself could not open a safe consumption site. "We will have more discussions with Vancouver Coastal Health. They reached out to us and said they want to have those discussions to look for solutions."

Brodie addressed the protests and strong opinions shared with council at this week's meetings.

"I don't think you can dismiss any of the concerns, it's just simply a matter of where you put your priorities," he said, adding the facility could've helped people who use drugs get more support or education. "In the end, you will save many lives. And I think that that's important."

Vancouver Coastal Health shared its feedback on the proposed site Wednesday afternoon, explaining it would not be "the most appropriate" service for the city.

"Stand-alone sites work best in communities where there is a significant concentration of people at risk, since people will not travel far for these services," the health authority said in a statement.

Vancouver has 12 supervised consumption sites, including the first that ever opened in North America. According to federal data, no fatal overdoses have occurred at any supervised consumption site across the country. Top Stories

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