As the provincial government puts a hold on the building of any new safe consumption site in our province, many business owners who operate near these sites are expressing great concern over the personal and financial toll these sites have on their businesses.

Garrett Scott and his wife own Fetch Haus, a popular pet supply and grooming store in Red Deer, which used to be located near Safe Harbour, which has the overdose prevention site in their parking lot.

That was until, according to Scott, the constant harassment of customers and employees by people using the site forced them to move.

“People were coming out of the injection sites screaming and yelling, we had customers phoning in saying they wouldn’t come back with that sort of activity going on down there, and we knew that we had to move because business was dropping off.”

Scott says they've spent around $75,000 moving their business away from the site, less than 6 months after the site first opened. They are also still paying rent on their old location.   

Scott says he agrees that these people need help, but not at the expense of others.

“There are people there who have been sidelined and misused who have mental health issues that need to be looked after, and then there are those who have legitimately lost their jobs and homes who should be properly taken care of, and then there’s those who are dealing drugs and using drugs at will…if we are going to treat them the way they want to be treated, then we need a new location which is outside the downtown area.”

The provincial government announced a formal review into the social and economic impacts these sites have on the community and will be hosting an open house in Red Deer tonight from 6 pm until 9 pm in the Santano Room at the Cambridge Inn and Suites, and it’s open for all to attend.