King promises P.E.I.'s first supervised injection site won't be on Belmont Street
Progressive Conservative Leader Dennis King says Charlottetown's supervised injection site won't be located at 33 Belmont Street after all.
King's government had previously selected the site, which was scheduled to open this spring once renovations to the building were complete.
If elected, King said his party would look at using a temporary modular unit for the supervised injection site.
"The whole idea is to get this right and that's that's been our goal. I think we've learned through this as well that we need a greater consultation and an educational understanding of what exactly these services are, why we need to offer them," King said.
"But I think it's been heard loud and clear from everybody that I think Belmont is not the proper place for this, and we would agree with that."
Residents in the area have been voicing concerns about the location since it was first announced.
All four of the candidates running in District 12 Charlottetown-Victoria Park were at a public meeting on the issue Wednesday night.
They all agreed the property on Belmont Street is the wrong location.
King said he doesn't believe the change happened due to the election.
"We're in the middle of an election, so I think every issue is probably political. Once again, I think we can say Belmont is not the right place without delaying the initial part of the service offering that needs to be done," he said.
"We were looking at a late summer, early fall at the earliest to get it up and running functionally. So I think we can deal with the modular unit as a temporary basis or somewhere to get that started that I think we can remain on that timeline."
Disappointment with delays
King said the new location will still be overseen by PEERS Alliance.
In an email to CBC News, program director Angele DesRoches said they were "disappointed" with delays in opening the site.
"PEERS Alliance is eager to operationalize this service which will significantly increase safety and dignity for extremely marginalized community members. We hope there is similar urgency for project partners in designating a site," the email said.
King said it's also important for the site to have wraparound services for people who use it.
"Belmont was always meant to be a temporary location to get a service up and running that's badly needed in Prince Edward Island for those suffering from mental health [issues] and addictions."
As for possible locations, King said he thinks there are a number that could be considered.
"Before we say definitively here, I think we need to have good community consultation and an educational understanding of the services that will be offered," he said.
"The reality is when you're dealing with issues such as this in communities growing like we have in Charlottetown and Summerside as well, is that you have to meet the people where they are."