The city’s public health department will use $100,000 it saved by the recent departure of its former medical officer of health to enhance its needle collection program.
Councillor Diane Holmes said the money was earmarked as compensation for Dr. David Salisbury, but since he left, and before his successor is named, the cash can be used as one-time funding to clean up needles discarded on city streets.
The community and protective services committee had asked the province to pay the entire $200,000 cost of needle clean up after the Ontario government continued to fund a harm-reduction program that city council discontinued, but provincial politicians refused. Council amended that motion today to ask Ontario to at least match the $100,000 that it is providing.
Whether the provincial cash comes or not, Holmes said at least the city’s money will be used to start work on cleaning up the problem immediately.