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Vancouver Park Board shutters Creekside Community Centre warming shelter

Last Updated Jan 10, 2017 at 1:19 pm PST

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Summary

Reports a child picked up a syringe at the facility, however, the Park Board says he was never pricked

Several other warming shelters are opening as cold snap sets in

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver is shutting down the homeless warming shelter at Creekside Community Centre, one day after a child picked up a needle in one of the washrooms. However, the Vancouver Park Board says that’s not why it’s closing the facility.

“The closure of Creekside [Community Centre] is not in reaction to that incident. Unfortunately, dealing with syringes and injectables in Vancouver in public spaces is at times — common place — in some of our parks and some of other community centres. And our staff are very well-equipped, very calm and very thoughtful about they deal with these incidents. What it does contribute to is the staff’s ongoing feelings of needing to take a break at Creekside and to see if we can consolidate some numbers.”

Board General Manager Malcolm Bromley says he has had a long talk with the father of the child involved and that an investigation is underway. “The father has indicated that no injury occurred. The decision to close Creekside is mine in terms of the owner of the asset. This is not a decision that was processed with the board. This is an operational, urgent decision that I made over the Christmas holidays.”

He adds the chair of the Park Board supports the move. “We have protocols to look at washrooms. I know the washroom that day was inspected at 7 a.m. or 8 a.m., there was no needle paraphernalia then but things change in a hurry,” explains Bromley.

This week there were several complaints from residents that the building that houses the shelter was putting families and children at risk.

There are several shelters open tonight as temperatures are expected to dip for the rest of the week. Facilities are opening at Britannia, West End community centres and for the first time at the Carnegie Community Centre.