By AMARACHI AMADIKE, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Ontario’s Ministry of Health has appointed a former executive at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Jill Campbell, as the new supervisor of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre.
Campbell’s appointment, announced last month, came after the provincial government’s critical incident review of the centre’s safe consumption site.
Earlier this week, Campbell officially started her new role at SRCHC.
“I look forward to bringing my years of experience including my most recent work as Vice President of Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to this role and connecting with members of the community in the weeks ahead to listen to their concerns and forge a positive and productive working relationship,” said Campbell in an e-mail statement to Beach Metro Community News.
Over the summer, SRCHC came under the public microscope after residents complained about increased criminal activities in the surrounding area. The situation came to a boiling point on July 7 after 44-year-old Karolina Huebner-Makurat was killed by a stray bullet across the street from the health centre.
The shooting happened near Queen Street East and Carlaw Avenue following a physical altercation between three men.
Campbell has now been given complete authority on decisions made to improve the facility’s safety and operations upon completion of the critical incident review.
“Over the next several weeks, as I identify priorities, I intend to work closely with the community partners and the centre toward a sustainable path forward,” said Campbell.
Along with SRCHC, 16 other safe consumption sites in the province are undergoing a similar reviewing process. However, according to officials, none of the safe consumption sites will be shut down.
The critical incident review consists of consultations with public health, development of a new incident reporting template, as well as reviews of complaints against the site.
One of the main complaints by residents in the area of the South Riverdale Community Health Centre was that the safe consumption site was located just around the corner from an elementary school. With numerous reports of used needles and fentanyl rocks being found on the streets around the treatment centre, local parents had voiced concerns about young children mistaking the drugs or paraphernalia as items they can play with.
As an added measure, the Ministry of Health has also requested Unity Health Toronto hospital network complete a third-party review of the Consumption & Treatment Services which will further determine how suitable SRCHC’s location is for a safe consumption site.
– Amarachi Amadike is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro Community News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.