Pubdate: Mon, 22 Dec 2008
Source: Nanaimo Daily News (CN BC)
Copyright: 2008 Nanaimo Daily News
Author: Jane Templeman


Re: Relocation of Health Clinic, (Your Letters, Daily News, Dec. 16)

For the benefit of Mr. Strickland and others not present at the SAFER
meeting, the following summarizes concerns addressed by NARSF Programs
regarding Harris House Health Clinic.

The clinic is not located next to a school. The closest is one
kilometre away.

Needle exchange is not the sole or primary function of the clinic.
Services are comprehensive and focused on providing support,
counselling and information regarding physical and sexual health care,
disease prevention, and referral to other services.

Provision for the exchange of needles, as a personal and community
safety practice, forms a small part of service delivery.

The return rate is nearly 100%. Needles dispensed are largely
returned, thus reducing public hazard.

There is concern that the number of clients will overwhelm the
neighbourhood but clinic operations are part-time and small scale.

There is concern that the clinic has caused deterioration in the
downtown and will do so in the Old City Quarter.

The clinic has operated successfully, two blocks away, for the past 10
years and has helped bring stability to the area.

There is concern about personal safety and client behaviour, There
will not be lineups of drug dealers and prostitutes on the corner as
some fear.

Clinic staff are working with clients to build co-operation to make
the transition successful including expectations of responsible
behaviour, a client code of conduct, access routes, and respect for
the neighbourhood.

Most clients describe that they value the heath clinic and act
responsibly to protect it.

NARSF continues to work with the City of Nanaimo to ensure that
security, site planning, and access issues are addressed.

The development of a Good Neighbour Agreement will identify
stakeholder rights, responsibilities and a process for problem
solving. The clinic is committed to providing safe health services,
being good neighbours, helping save lives and reducing public health

Jane Templeman

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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake