Calgary’s supervised consumption site at Sheldon Chumir centre to close, services being relocated

Calgary’s downtown supervised consumption site will be closing its doors, and the services it provides relocated to two other — currently unknown — locations in the city.

In a statement Thursday evening, the provincial government said the closure of the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre site was part of its “city-by-city approach regarding the location of supervised consumption services.”

Read more: Supervised consumption sites save Alberta money: University of Calgary study

“We will be relocating the existing supervised consumption site, which has been highly disruptive to the neighbourhood, and instead add SCS capabilities within two existing partner organizations’ facilities situated in more appropriate locations,” department of mental health and addictions spokesperson Justin Marshall said in a statement.

Marshall didn’t give any detail on when the supervised consumption site changes would happen, or where in the city the other locations will be.

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He also didn’t say what the partner organizations are that the government will be working with to provide services at the other sites.

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The Sheldon Chumir site has been the source of contention in recent years, with those living in the area — as well as police — reporting an increase in crime and disorder linked to the facility.

A January 2019 report from the Calgary Police Service showed a 286 per cent increase in drug-related calls in the 250-metre radius around the site compared to the three-year average.

Read more: Spike in crime around Calgary supervised consumption site leads to questions about resources

However, advocates for the site’s services and its location have said it is effective to have the site operational in the downtown core. They have also made the case to have additional sites set up in other parts of the city.

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In August 2019, the province announced a panel that would lead a province-wide review of supervised consumption sites, after pausing funding for proposed sites in June of that year.

“Our principled approach will continue to provide services while protecting community safety,” Marshall said. “Supervised consumption services will continue to operate in Alberta.

“Our government is committed to a high-quality and easily accessible system of care for both mental health and addictions that includes a full continuum of supports, including services to reduce harm. Albertans deserve no less. People with addiction deserve no less.”

The ARCHES supervised consumption site in Lethbridge closed its doors, in light of the provincial review in August 2020.

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