—— By Kristen Holliday/Castanet

 

The City of Merritt would like to see the province create a dashboard to report statistics related to its drug decriminalization pilot — a proposal now backed by other Southern Interior local government representatives.

Merritt Mayor Mike Goetz told elected officials at the Southern Interior Local Government Association convention last Wednesday that communities haven’t been able to view any statistics or reports about how the decriminalization pilot is progressing.

“We have absolutely nothing in the middle, nothing to carry us through,” Goetz said.

“We’ve been left completely hanging, and this affects our communities. …[We’re] just looking for some guidance and some numbers that we can all have in our community to see if this pilot program is working.”

The Merritt-sponsored resolution recommends the Union of B.C. Municipalities ask the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to create a dashboard which reports statistics of the impact of decriminalization, and “demonstrates whether the continuation of the pilot program is of benefit to communities.”

The resolution notes no reporting dashboard has yet been provided to support the continuation of the pilot program or demonstrate a decrease in harm associated with decriminalization.

SILGA representatives voted to adopt the resolution. It will go before UBCM representatives for further discussion and debate in the fall.

The elected officials also voted in favour of a Kamloops-sponsored resolution which calls for a response to the toxic drug crisis that equally considers prevention, harm reduction, treatment and recovery, and enforcement.