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Statement from Mayor Spearman on Pop-Up Overdose Prevention Services

‚ÄčThe City of Lethbridge is aware of a pop-up site operated by the Lethbridge Overdose Prevention Society (LOPS) that has appeared in our city over the weekend.

While we understand this is upsetting for the community, we also know it is a very complex issue with multiple parties involved. These groups are busy working behind the scenes to address the concerns.

Lethbridge Police Service has the responsibility to ensure no illegal activity is taking place. We understand they have been monitoring this site at its different locations but have not witnessed any drug consumption. They will continue to do this to make sure there is no illegal activity.

The City of Lethbridge has the responsibility to ensure all groups adhere to our Parks bylaw. In order to enforce these bylaws several steps must occur and the City has to work within the law to follow these steps. It includes gathering information and evidence that a violation has occurred, notifying those involved, and working with them to ensure compliance. A fine of $300 for failing to be able to provide an approved permit was issued to the LOPS organizer on September 28 after a number of communications, inclusive of three requests to stop setting up the pop-up tent, occurred with this group.

Lastly, the Government of Alberta is responsible for providing health services in Lethbridge. Both the City of Lethbridge and Lethbridge Police Service would encourage anyone needing overdose prevention services to use the Alberta Health sanctioned overdose prevention site, operated by Alberta Health Services in Lethbridge.  

The safety and wellbeing of our community is our number one priority and we will continue to do everything we can to maintain that.