The large volume methadone clinic, which relocated from Front+Frederick to 431 King East in June? 2006, has been a negative influence on Corktown for several months. A task force which is reviewing the province’s methadone program, met on Jan 24 to listen to Corktown concerns. (The task force chair, Anton Hart, lives on Trinity Street, and may well have first-hand experience with some of the problems caused by the clinic.)
It was great to have our MPP George Smitherman in person at the start of the meeting; he gave the following introductory remarks:
– he is personally opposed to “shooting galleries” (presumably, he means safe consumption sites)
– the task force report is due March 31 this year; it will be shared with the public, and he agreed to return to Corktown to discuss the report
Suzanne Edmonds read the complete brief which was endorsed by the CRBA Board; it is notable that Smitherman stayed to listen to the entire brief. Not surprising that our City Councillor Pam McConnell was a “no-show” (her assistant Tom Davidson showed up part-way through the CRBA brief). These Corktowners also spoke to the task force: Michael Comstock, Steve Behal, Marilyn Lake, Francine Barry, Radford Cook, Linda Dixon, Rob Coelho, Joanne Nelson, Louise Parent, Mark Buey and Chris Hutchenson.Maureen Gilroy (from Riverdale) expressed concern that the city’s new-found autonomy will enable implementation of Toronto’s Drug Strategy, causing further neighbourhood impacts. A written deputation from Holly Cartmell was read. Michael Lester (Parkdale methadone doctor) and Denise (Don Jail pharmacist and methadone resident) asserted that Parkdale methdone clinics are problem-free, and have no negative effects on that neighbourhood. Aurie Hensman (who lives at Front+Frederick) spoke about the disorderly behavoiur of methadone clients and drug deals which occured for several years, when the clinic was located next to her condo. A methadone user also spoke about the stigmatization of having to use a large-scale, very visible clinic such as 431 King E.
One speaker observed “all 3 levels of government listen to our concerns; but take no action”. Let’s hope that changes soon.