Rino Bortolin on Safe Consumption Site rescind motion

Rino Bortolin Rino Bortolin

Rino Bortolin
Former Ward 3 City Councillor
Jan 27, 2023

Former ward 3 city councillor Rino Bortolin opines about newly elected ward 3 councillor Renaldo Agostino’s Notice of Motion to rescind city council support for the Safe Consumption Site’s approved location.

It’s unfortunate when a politician thinks his opinion supersedes a mountain of data and consultation using an election as justification.

To say that this was the most thorough & in depth public study & consultation in my 8 yrs on council would be an understatement.

There is a mountain of data to pour over, not just showing the need but explaining why this location was chosen. Much of it found here: https://wecoss.ca/consumption-and-treatment-site

Tens of thousands of hrs were spent on this study & research leading to this location so when a politician says “he’s talked to some people” as justification to reverse such a decision it’s simply ridiculous. I can tell you he didn’t talk to more people than @TheWECHU did.

He hasn’t even fully read or met with senior WECHU staff to hear the rationale and the process until this point. He mentions residents and biz owners as the main group of people he’s talked to. Not one resident came to council to speak against this location. NOT ONE!

Community groups worked with residents, educating & engaging them in this process aside from the official WECHU process. There were hundreds of hours spent engaging residents, leading to a wide spectrum of support.

He offers up an alternative solution where a mobile van acts as an SIS. If he actually talked to anyone at WECHU he would know this model has been proven to be ineffective. But again, he didn’t talk to them.

The notice of motion oddly mentions McDonald’s. If he spoke to them he would actually find out they are supportive. While corp headquarters would not sanction a support letter, the local managers all realize the value of such services.

He would know this if he actually did talk to them. They know the issues and remember someone was shot and killed in their parking lot just a few years ago. They are ground zero today. He didn’t talk to them, but mentions them in his motion.

As a biz owner he never attended any info session & never participated in offering his opinion over the last 4 yrs. The DWBIA board had an unanimous vote of their board where all duly elected members were present & supported this location. UNANIMOUS!

This motion may jeopardize funding & even approvals, meaning this motion will lead to people dying. Simple. The longer we wait the reality is people will die that shouldn’t. This has nothing to do with representing residents or biz owners.

This is 1 person’s opinion & political calculus that is jeopardizing public health & people’s lives. He isn’t satisfying some campaign promise either.

This issue was not the reason he was elected. As the former rep for this ward I can tell you unequivocally that there is broad, wide ranging support for this service in this location.

This is Abe Taqtaq’s tweet from last year. Abe owns the Duty Free Shop at the Tunnel entrance. Abe has been linked as campaign manager to Dilkens, Francis, Gignac, Sleiman. All 4 voted against the site last year.

Abe Taqtaq tweet about Safe Consumption Site

Here is the ward 3 councilor with his campaign manager Abe after his election win. Who seems happier in this picture? It’s a sad day when personal/political calculus trumps effective public health and will lead to people dying. Everyone should be outraged.

Abe Taqtaq tweet about Renaldo Agostino win.