Submitted. Abbotsford City Council gave first read to a bylaw amendment Monday night that will remove the restrictions prohibiting harm reduction services in Abbotsford, announced Mayor Bruce Banman Tuesday.
Photo: One of the prime supports of the Anti-Harm Reduction Bylaw, Councillor Simon Gibson will be retiring to sit as a full-time MLA before the decision on the bylaw comes to a vote.
The next step in the process is a Public Hearing which will be held January 13, 2014 for Council to receive direct feedback on the proposal from the community.
“In 2010, the Fraser Health Authority and the Hepatitis C Council of British Columbia submitted letters asking the City to re-examine its harm reduction regulations,” said Banman. “At that time, Council asked staff to undertake a comprehensive review of harm reduction practices and report back to Council with recommendations.”
Abbotsford’s Zoning Bylaw was amended in 2005 to prohibit “harm reduction” activities, including the operation of needle exchanges across the entire City.
“Council was clear that we wanted to ensure a solid and comprehensive review was undertaken in reconsidering this process,” said Banman. “It is important that we find the right solution for Abbotsford and Council is looking forward to hearing directly from the community on this proposal at the Public Hearing.”
As part of the proposed bylaw amendment a new working relationship between the City of Abbotsford, the Abbotsford Police Department and the Fraser Health Authority was recommended for implementing and reviewing an Abbotsford-based harm reduction program.
The Public Hearing for the community to provide input to Council on the proposed amendments will be held on January 13, 2014 at 7:00pm in the Mastqui Centennial Auditorium.
To read the bylaw click here.