A downtown Timmins location has been chosen for a temporary safe consumption site.
Work is underway to set up the temporary Safe Health Site Timmins at the former Living Space location on Cedar Street North across from city hall. It's anticipated to open early this year and will be operated by Timmins and District Hospital.
The Timmins and Area Drug Strategy group has been evaluating locations for an Urgent Public Health Needs Site (UPHNS). There are a number of reasons for going with the building, said Kaileigh Russell, Timmins and District Hospital communications specialist.
"In order to be successful, the site must be easily accessible to those who require it. Secondly, this location is close to a variety of relevant agencies nearby that clients can access to improve their health outcomes. In addition to providing people a safe place to use, the Safe Health Site Timmins intends to have seamless transition for individuals to get to services, including withdrawal management, health care, or practical information like where to access hot meals and foodbank," she said.
Last year, the City of Timmins committed over $1 million for a UPHNS.
It's a temporary solution and would bridge the gap while the Timmins and Area Drug Strategy group works toward a supervised consumption site, which could take two to three years to work through the approvals.
While the permanent site has a funding stream, the temporary operation does not.
"As we work through the application process for a permanently funded site through the provincial government, this location could be subject to change," said Russell.
Safe Health Site Timmins is expected to open early this year. First, it needs Health Canada approval.
The Living Space building on Cedar Street is vacant after the shelter expanded to a new location on Spruce Street South last year.