Never forget that 21 people in the Comox Valley died from toxic drugs between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31 this year, compared to 35 in total last year.
This was a message from the Comox Valley Substance Use Strategy, which provided Courtenay council with an update on Phase 2 of the initiative. The first phase focused on learning and documenting the state of substance use locally. The second focused on mapping, dialoguing with people (peers) with lived/living experience, and engaging with government. The group received 51 completed surveys from peers, which will help inform action for Phase 3, which involves data analysis and recommendations.
The city provided $30,000 to the strategy for each of the first two phases. The group requested a further $15,000 for Phase 3, and in-kind support.
Coun. Wendy Morin notes the people impacted on a day-to-day basis, and those who passed away, are from the entire Comox Valley.
“I really do appreciate the work of the peers — so vital in identifying the gaps in services,” Morin said at the Nov. 21 meeting. She hopes the next phase will expand and garner more participation regionally, and from those impacted across the valley. “Many of us know that there are huge gaps, and that’s not to minimize the unbelievable work of our front-line folks who are struggling themselves.”
Coun. Evan Jolicoeur, a strategy member before he was elected to council, said the “gift of stories” are “important things to bring into the political process.”
The Arden Green Team requested several infrastructure changes to improve safety at the elementary school, including speed humps on Lake Trail Road, a lowered speed limit between school zones, a speed reader board and raised crosswalks. The team also hopes the school zone can be extended on Lake Trail, and ‘School’ pavement markings can be painted at each boundary.
Council approved a letter of support for the John Howard Society of North Island’s intention to apply to the province as the lead organization to establish and facilitate a situation table in the Comox Valley.
The situation table model is an initiative of the Office of Crime Reduction & Gang Outreach. Situation tables are meetings between front-line workers from various sectors and agencies to share limited information on clients who face elevated levels of risk, and to co-ordinate immediate interventions.