A supervised consumption site may make its way around the city in the form of a mobile van in the interim.

Users would be able to use their drugs in a safe, monitored and hygienic manner at the site if it were to roll out.
“The goal of these sites is to reduce the rate of public overdose, needle sharing and improper disposal of needles as a result of the opioid crisis that is occurring across Canada. Failure to dispose the needles properly and sharing needles can transmit HIV, hepatitis C and other infectious diseases,” said Cameron Thompson, Planner I for the City of Grande Prairie.
A needs assessment was conducted in 2017 by the HIV North Society.
“We surveyed 200 people who used drugs as part of a provincial wide needs assessment process that happened with harm reduction agencies and seven cities around the province,” said Melissa Byers, executive director for HIV North Society Grande Prairie.
“We did find a need for supervised consumption services. The mobile unit came as an idea because we believe it would be a lot easier to implement in our community. It’s not permanent and it also gives us a template to see what our future needs could be as a community.”
Organizations such as Alberta Health Services and community partners would be on hand to help those quit using substances while providing more awareness to the public.
A mobile option for a supervised consumption site would be able to operate without adhering to the municipality’s land use bylaw. It also does not need a business license as a non-profit organization will be operating it.
City administration was tasked to undertake a strategic approach before the city can be involved.
“The city’s role would kick in if and when a permanent site would be needed. At this point we don’t know if a permanent site is needed,” said Thompson.
The strategic approach involves amending the land use bylaw to include a definition for supervised consumption services, monitoring federal and provincial legislation, consulting with departments to ensure the impacts of the site are understood, engage with HIV North Society to pinpoint location needs and consult with the group on a permanent location.
“The current land use bylaw does not contemplate the use of this specific nature. The first step would be to add an exclusive definition for supervised consumption services,” Thompson said.
The first amendment allows the examination of the mobile site but once a location is selected, the bylaw would have to be amended again to allow the site permanently in the area.
“I believe a set site would be a more viable option however the ability to get this going and get this operational with a mobile site would be a lot quicker,” said Byers.