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Mayor Tory wants unsanctioned safe injection site at Moss Park moved indoors

Last Updated Nov 20, 2017 at 7:02 pm EDT

Toronto Mayor John Tory is trying to have the pop-up safe injection site at Moss Park moved indoors to the nearby Fred Victor Centre.

The unsanctioned site has been operating without interference, but on Monday city officials stated that the addition of trailer to the site was a by-law infraction.

“Mayor Tory is focused on doing everything possible to get the federal government’s immediate approval of an exemption application to operate a supervised injection service at the Fred Victor Centre,” Tory’s office informed CityNews. “We have been told by federal officials that this approval is coming very soon.

“The Mayor has been clear that a public park is not a suitable place for this type of facility. That’s why he has been working to help move this site into the Fred Victor Centre so people can get the help they need in a proper facility.”

With winter fast approaching, volunteers from the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society (TOPS) brought a trailer to the site on Monday, drawing the attention of city by-law officers who said it was a park infraction.

When plans to move to a temporary indoor space fell through a few weeks ago, the Emergency Medical Assistance Team (EMAT) set-up an industrial-style, heated, field hospital tent.

Just a few days later TOPS sent out a release, saying they realized the tent, “was not adequate or appropriate and was creating safety issues for people accessing the site and the volunteers.”

That’s what prompted organizers to bring in the trailer on Monday.

Sara Ovens, a volunteer with TOPS, says the trailer provides more space to accommodate people who are using the site.

“This trailer is big enough where we can have our injections based on one side and the distribution and intake on the other side,” she said. “The EMAT tent was not enough space to safely do what we do.”

Organizers say they haven’t been told that the trailer will be removed — just that it’s a park infraction, so they’re planning to transfer all their tools to the trailer so they can start operating out of it starting Monday night.

In the first 100 days, TOPS witnessed 2,611 injections and has stopped or reversed 106 drug overdoses.