Ty Rillorta / Staff Reporter
A plan to build an overdose prevention site in Yaletown was approved on October 20 by the Vancouver councilors, seven to four. This will be the first site outside Downtown Eastside, which has sparked some controversy.
Drug overdoses have been plaguing Vancouver each year and have been on a steady rise, the highest being now. In October, BC paramedics went to 30.57 overdose events for every 100,000 people according to Overdose Report by the CDC. Overdose prevention sites have proven to be effective in preventing users’ deaths and getting those people the help they need.
Safe-injection sites have had 3.6 million visits, 48,798 clinical treatment visits, and 6,440 prevented deaths stated by Vancouver Coastal Health.
The Daily Hive’s article had taken the side of the majority of Yaletown citizens who are against the overdose prevention site. they are a city paper located in Yaletown, so it makes sense they would voice the residents’ concerns. The main problem the residents have is that the site is located near Emery Barnes Park, too close to their community. They worry that this will lead to an increase in needles, property damage, and criminal behaviour, putting people in danger.
Sarah Kirby-Yung, non-partisan councilor, spoke against the site and was heavily featured in the article. She shares the same concern of the location being inappropriate. “[It] doesn’t make sense to locate something near a children’s playground and where a daycare is coming in.”
This article states a unique fact that the others did not. Normally, eight out of the eleven councilors are needed to approve a decision, but because it was the government health agency, only a majority vote was necessary. “The process has been compromised,” said Kirby-Yung. “We’re not responding to the community, and they feel significantly unheard”.
CTV News’s article mainly focuses on the positives of the overdoes prevention site. They have their headquarters in Vancouver, but still cater toward a larger audience than the Daily Hive; so it makes sense why they would focus on one topic and not make the article very specific. The focus was the benefit to the community that the new site will bring. “I understand their concerns, but this overdose prevention site should actually make things better,” said Kennedy Stewart, mayor of Vancouver. “Once it’s moved inside, I think it will be better both for the lives we’re trying to save and the community.”
“For one, we pick up hundreds of needles every day just by having people come in and use on site, and people don’t have to be on the street and use in a doorway,” said Sarah Blyth, part of the Overdose Prevention Society. The article does touch on the Yaletown citizen’s worries, but not that deep.
CBC stays mostly neutral throughout the article but does not go into detail as they have a huge audience as a national news source. They acknowledge that the overdose prevention site is entitled to criticism, but also the positive effects that will come out of it.
These articles all have a different audience and that can be seen in the article they create. When an author writes their article for a certain demographic, the true importance of the story can be lost.