Langley City Coun. Coun. Rudy Storteboom expressed concern about the potential negative impact of a proposed overdose prevention site at the Monday, Feb. 22 council meeting (Langley City Council video image)

Langley City Coun. Coun. Rudy Storteboom expressed concern about the potential negative impact of a proposed overdose prevention site at the Monday, Feb. 22 council meeting (Langley City Council video image)

VIDEO: Questions and concerns at Langley City Council over proposed overdose prevention centre

‘It’s key that we get that right’

A proposed overdose prevention site (OPS) drew a lot of questions from Langley City Council, with some councillors worried about the possible unintended side effects of setting up such a facility, while others said it was important to do it right, so people will actually use the provided safe space.

A Fraser Health Authority delegation appeared at council’s Monday, Feb. 22 meeting by videoconference to explain the proposed facility would serve both the City and Township, offering “witnessed consumption,” where people can take their drugs with someone present.

READ MORE: Overdose Prevention Site looking for Langley location to reduce deaths

Coun. Rudy Storteboom said he felt “threatened” by the proposal and the potential impact on the City core if it is located there.

“I don’t think I’m alone in feeling especially anxious,” Storteboom remarked.

“Why isn’t this in a hospital?” Storteboom asked, saying he would prefer some kind of in-home service.

Dan Kipper, director of clinical programs for Fraser Health, promised there would be consultation before a location is picked.

“We want to work quite closely with the community,” Kipper said.

Erin Gibson, manager of harm reduction for Fraser Health, said there are many “unwitnessed injection sites” and the OPS offers a safer alternative.

Coun. Gayle Martin commented that the proposal sounded like a safe injection site to her, and she couldn’t see people leaving their home to use it.

“We do not want it in our downtown core,” Martin warned.

Councillor Paul Albrecht was curious about the FHA decision to have one site serving both City and Township.

“Why not one in both?” Albrecht proposed.

Albrecht asked if the authority could “get the brakes pumped” and delay the project.

‘There are a little too many unknowns,” Albrecht remarked.

Coun. Nathan Pachal, who said he had his father’s permission, described his dad’s struggle with substance abuse, and how his parent once overdosed during a camping trip.

“I don’t think he chose to use the way he did,” Pachal observed.

“You don’t make a conscious decision to hurt your family.”

It is important that clients of the OPS don’t feel stigmatized, Pachal told the delegation.

“How will you create a space that feels safe for people like my dad?” Pachal asked

“It’s key that we get that right.”

In his online blog, Pachal later commented that he knows firsthand “that there is a lot of shame around drug addiction.”

Dr. Fernando Mejia, a medical health officer with FHA, described the site as “opening the door” to people who would not be treated otherwise.

“What we are proposing here, is one tool, among the many that need to be implemented,” Mejia told council.

Coun. Rosemary Wallace described the site as ‘necessary.”

“I see this as saving lives,” Wallace said.

“I see this as mending families.”

Coun. Teri James said choosing the right location was essential, and it should not be too central.

“I’m not going to suggest it be tucked away in a corner like a dirty little secret,” Jame added.

Mayor Val van den Broek called the site “just one part of the puzzle” that needs to be solved to affect the current overdose epidemic.

READ MORE: Toxic drugs claim 39 lives in 2020 in Langley

More people died of toxic drugs and overdoses in Langley in 2020 than in any previous year, according to a report by the B.C. Coroner’s Service released on Thursday Feb 11.

There were 39 illicit drug toxicity deaths last year, up from 22 in 2019.

Is there more to the story? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Addictions treatmentCity CouncilLangley Cityopioid addiction

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Langley City Coun. Nathan Pachal related how his father struggled with addiction during a discussion about a proposed overdose prevention site at the Monday, Feb. 22 council meeting (Langley City Council video image)

Langley City Coun. Nathan Pachal related how his father struggled with addiction during a discussion about a proposed overdose prevention site at the Monday, Feb. 22 council meeting (Langley City Council video image)

Just Posted

Guinevere, lovingly referred to by Jackee Sullivan and her family as Gwenny, is in need of a gynecological surgery. The family is raising money to help offset the cost of the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langley lizard’s owners raise funds for gynecological surgery

The young reptile is scheduled for operation on Tuesday

Essie Boelema, a 17-year-old lavender farmer, is passionate about the plant. (Screenshot/Special to The Star)
VIDEO: Langley lavender growers say season soon to be in full bloom

Family-owned farm marks five years by preparing for a summer of sales, tours, and growth

Mounties say they “corralled” four Ford Mustangs April 4 after an officer saw the muscle cars racing down 184 Street near 53 Avenue at about 10 p.m. (File Photo)
Mounties impound four Mustangs

Surrey RCMP say they seized four cars for street racing

Work was underway on the interior of the new Tennis Centre location in Langley. Popularity of the sport has risen during the pandemic (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Tennis business expands into Langley

‘Busiest we’ve ever been’ says manager

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Surrey RCMP are seeking the public's help to locate three puppies stolen from a South Surrey home on April 10. (Surrey RCMP photos)
Puppies stolen during weekend break-and-enter in South Surrey

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s assistance in locating three American Bulldog puppies

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read