Council turfs prohibition on harm-reduction treatment clinic

Unanimous vote to amend 'unenforceable' bylaw. Healthy Community Council to look at larger addiction treatment uses.

Council voted unanimously Tuesday to eliminate the district’s prohibition on harm-reduction treatment clinics for drug addicts.

Council had deferred a decision on the third reading of a bylaw amendment to change the district’s prohibition following an Aug. 18 public hearing on that issue and substance abuse issues.

But while questions remained about how best to treat those addicted to drugs, council – at the recommendation of staff – decided to address the amendment on Tuesday while leaving the broader topic of treatment to be addressed by the Healthy Community Council.

Staff had noted that the “outright prohibition” of treatment clinics is under the jurisdiction of the province, not municipalities.

“Accordingly, the prohibition is not lawful and would not be enforceable,” staff concluded in its report to council.

The amendment’s third reading and adoption passed unanimously – Coun. Larry Nundal was absent – and Adlem thanked council “for approving a text amendment that brings a bylaw of ours in conformance with provincial law.”

The amendment does require proposed clinics to go through typical land use application processes, which would include public hearings.