Parksville council turns down request to allow drug overdose memorial kiosk on Jensen Avenue

Dr. Peter Drummond shows a model of the kiosk he hoped to build in Parksville to raise awareness of local overdose deaths. Council turned down his request at its May 17 meeting. || Photo is a screenshot from the March 15 Parksville council meeting.
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A kiosk displaying photos of Oceanside residents who have died from drug overdoses will not be constructed in Parksville.

Dr. Peter Drummond, representing the Oceanside Community Action Team (OCAT), made a presentation to council in March, requesting permission to build an 64 square ft structure on city property. He proposed it to have four interior walls displaying photos, as well as contact information for people looking for mental health and addictions treatment.

Council’s resolution at the meeting was to have staff review a potential location at the start of the Jensen Avenue greenway trail. City staff found a number of issues with the kiosk after consulting with RCMP, the fire department and Orca Place, a nearby supportive housing facility operated by Island Crisis Care Society.

Orca Place staff told the city they did not believe the memorial would be therapeutic to residents. 

“If it’s not good for them, how is it going to be good for anybody else in the community? It does touch on a very sensitive issue and can be very triggering for people,” said Coun. Adam Fras.

The city was advised the kiosk could attract vandalism and would be better placed in a well-lit area covered by security cameras. Staff also pointed out a way-finding sign has already been assigned to the site by the city and the Parksville Downtown Business Association (PDBA).

Several members of council said they were contacted by residents who were against the kiosk being installed.

“I don’t think we should be taking on any expense of this and I don’t think its going to be something that’s well received by the entire community,” said Coun. Al Greir. “I’ve talked to a lot of people and I haven’t talked to anybody that’s in favour of putting this up.” 

Belinda Woods, the city’s director of operations, said if the structure is taller than six feet it may require a building permit. 

Although Drummond said he would build the structure himself, the city would need to spend $1,000 to level the area before placing the kiosk and $3,600 if it installed a concrete pad as well, according to Woods. 

Woods said staff does not know who would be responsible for maintaining and insuring the kiosk. She added the city could support OCAT by suggesting it place the structure on private property or pursue placing it on provincial or federal land, since the issue has been declared a provincial and federal emergency.

OCAT is a provincially funded group seeking to address B.C.’s overdose crisis at the local level.

Greir’s motion to turn down the request to place the kiosk Jensen Avenue greenway was carried unanimously.

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