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Council agrees to send business case for Kamloops sobering centre to province

Kamloops City Council supported a business case on a proposed sobering and assessment centre in the city.

During the Tuesday meeting, Kamloops council fully supported sending the report to BC’s Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, the Minister of Health and Interior Health.

In the business case, city staff recommend the centre be operated by Day One Society in their Phoenix Centre on 3rd Avenue.

“The proposed sobering and assessment centre aims to address acute intoxication, offering a medically supported environment for individuals to sober up from drugs and alcohol and connect with essential services,” reads the business case.

The centre would provide short-term shelter, medical supervision and assessment in a safe and supportive environment for individuals under the influence of or in withdrawal from alcohol and/or other substances.

Sobering centres are meant to alleviate the pressure on emergency rooms, jail cells or shelters.

People who access these types of centres would be able to access care for 24-hours and gain further access to detox and withdrawal management and, eventually, longer-term services and supports like treatment.

According to the business case, the centre would run 24 hours a day, seven days a week with 10 beds and security on site for the safety of clients, staff and others.

According to the business case, the centre would require renovations to the lower level of Day One Society's building, which are estimated to cost $398,000.

An annual operating budget of $2.6 million is proposed.

The business case also points to seven other sobering centres that operate in BC including in Victoria, Cowichan Valley, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Surrey and Prince George.

Several city councillors were very supportive of the business case and thanked staff for pushing this through since 2016, when a previous business case centre was provided and before the toxic drug crisis was declared a provincial emergency.

The business centre was made possible after council authorized up to $30,000 for research, engagement, costing and writing the report earlier this year.

In addition to sending the report off to the aforementioned ministers and Interior Health, council also asked staff to send a letter request asking for a formal response.

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