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Cambridge endorses 150 Main as CTS site location

After hours of delegations and debate, Cambridge city council is shifting course and endorsing a Consumption and Treatment Services site at a location not included in a public survey in the spring
150 main st.
Region of Waterloo Building at 150 Main Street in Cambridge. (Google Streetview)

A twist in the Consumption and Treatment Services site saga in Cambridge.

After a public consultation period that drew a record number of responses, hours of delegations during a meeting Tuesday night and some fiery exchanges around the virtual horseshoe, council has decided to endorse a CTS site at the public health building at 150 Main Street.

This was a noticeable shift, after the consultation between April and July looked at 15 Easton Street and 8 Oxford Road.

A long list of delegates spoke, but many instead of focusing on whether one location was better than the other, took the time to continue voicing displeasure on a CTS site in general.

This falls in line with the public consultation, where about 70 per cent of respondents felt neither of the two locations were suitable for a site.

Among the delegates who spoke in favour of the CTS was Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie.

He cited the success seen at the location in Guelph as an example, while others cited success seen in other Ontario cities, including Kitchener.

Ruth Cameron, the Executive Director of the AIDS Committee of Cambridge, KW and Area also spoke.  She released a statement ahead of the meeting about the benefits of a CTS site.

"We need a site that allows both housed and unhoused drug users access to this amenity while remaining anonymous," said Councillor Donna Reid, who introduced the motion.

"150 Main Street does this."

Reid also pointed out 150 Main has wraparound services, adding she can't stand by and watch residents die when she has the power to help.

"There are economic, social and health benefits that accrue from a CTS," she said. "There's also a moral need to help the most vulnerable citizens."

Councillor Jan Liggett took exception to the shift in locations.

"What you're saying to the people once again is that consultation means nothing when it comes to the community,"

"We spent all this money, all this time, we promised the public their voices would be heard, but now that you don't like what they have to say because you don't like their comments or whatever, you're saying it doesn't matter.  All the time and comments and letters that the businesses around that area had sent to us don't matter."

Councillor Pam Wolf called a point of order that Liggett was putting words into the mouths of other councillors.

Mayor Kathryn McGarry agreed, and it led to a heated exchange that ultimately resulted in Liggett leaving the virtual meeting before the final votes were cast.

All except Councillor Nick Ermeta voted in favour of the 150 Main Street location.

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