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People are walking around like zombies, says Charlottetown city councillor

Drug issues in Charlottetown have city councillors desperate to meet with P.E.I. Premier Dennis King to find solutions.

The issues surrounding public drug use in the Community Outreach Centre area was once again a topic of discussion during a city council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

Coun. Bob Doiron emphasized there’s a need for a solution and suggested council and police meet with Premier King to discuss a provincewide law mirroring British Columbia’s recent legislation that makes it illegal to use drugs in almost all public spaces.

“This is an emergency. I’ve never seen this in my whole life. How many people are walking around like zombies,” said Coun. Doiron.

Coun. Kevin Ramsay, chair of the Protective and Emergency Services Committee, agreed that meeting with Premier has to happen.

“We gotta sit down with them and we gotta say ‘this is our city and we have to do something about it’,” said Coun. Ramsay.

Charlottetown Police Services is working night and day to deal with the problem, said Charlottetown Police Chief Brad MacConnell.

“It’s a complex issue founded largely in a deep-rooted mental health issue,” said MacConnell.

The police services’ plan is to get drugs off the streets, prevent them from coming into the province and to hold accountable those selling drugs to the marginalized population, said MacConnell.

“I will continue to support my team in this very difficult job of combating [the] illicit drug trade and dealing with the underlying issues that surround them,” said MacConnell.

Legislation is important, but police and council can’t lose sight of prevention efforts, said the chief.

Coun. Mitchell Tweel said legislation efforts have to go even further and show tangible results.

“People don’t feel safe in their communities. That has been highlighted and illustrated time and time again. So it’s our job to do whatever it takes to make our community safe,” said Coun. Tweel.

Coun. Justin Muttart brought up the survey that was handed out to residents who attended the Sept. 5 public meeting, held by Charlottetown Police Services and asked when results will be available.

MacConnell asked for council’s patience in waiting for the results.

“I can return something to council that’s short-sited and not well thought through and that certainly doesn’t factor in the evolving situation that we’re faced if that’s what council wants. But we’re in a very dynamic situation here and it’s gonna take time,” said the chief.

City council general meetings happen at Charlottetown’s City Hall on the second Monday of each month (with exceptions) and are open to the public. Photo by Ezra Santana.



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