December 6th, 2019

ARCHES needs support, not condemnation

By Letter to the Editor on September 10, 2019.

The debate over the ARCHES Supervised Consumption Site has ramped up once again in Lethbridge. I truly feel for the exasperated staff there, who have to once again, be put through the wringer. I feel for those who use the site, as they are also the focus of much negative attention at this time. On social media, the staff at ARCHES have been accused of taking advantage of the crisis for their own profit, despite ARCHES being a non-profit organization. I always thought job creation was supposed to be a good thing. I guess not when it comes to jobs that involve helping those in need.

On social media, the clients of the SCS have been called junkies, druggies, criminals and more. Using these labels make it much easier to advocate for a removal of the life-saving services offered by ARCHES. Everyone should remember that the people who take advantage of their services are sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, siblings, and more. They are not nameless people whose lives are worth less than those who aren’t struggling with addiction.

On the ARCHES website you can see pictures and stories of what the clients feel ARCHES has done for them. I encourage everyone to visit the site and learn for yourself. Don’t define the clients of SCS by one aspect of their life. See the humanity in everyone, and support the SCS for what it does: save lives.

The energy that certain people are putting towards shutting it down would be much better utilized lobbying the government and others to encourage the implementation of other resources and infrastructure to help those who are struggling. Opioids have been used for thousands of years, they’re not going away. Let’s work together to support ARCHES and make our community better for everyone.

Stuart Nish


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5 Responses to “ARCHES needs support, not condemnation”

  1. George McCrea says:

    Several comments on your letter Stuart. You state that Arches is non-profit. You are correct.
    Checking the statement of operations ending March 31,2017 shows ARCHES with revenues of $527,804.00. Of that amount
    $376.388.00 was spent on salaries, wages and travel. So far have not seen statement of Ops for 2018 or 2019. There are two years of reporting that need to be viewed.

    The energy you state as misdirected is correct again. THe energy you speak of should have been at the front end of this site prior to it opening. They heralded long and hard that this site was based on the success of the 4 pillars model world wide.
    Except, they opened it with only the harm reduction pillar in place. This is like putting the horse back in the barn and the gate is closed.
    Once again:

    Prevention (where is ARCHES with their prevention programs?)
    Harm Reduction (can be argued as to whose harm has been increased, i.e. general public)
    Recovery & Rehabilitation. (Would like stats and to numbers recovered and rehabbed solely based on Arches intervention)
    Enforcement and Justice. (In the immediate area of the site, appears non existent, intentional or by design??)

  2. Dennis Bremner says:

    I am actually quite tired of you bleeding hearts Mr Nish. You defend ARCHES and ARCHES staff as if the job they are doing would have been there had they not started this fiasco. Let it be known that we had about 200 addicts to serve in Lethbridge, then when Ms Bourgue decided to invite every addict within 80 miles of Lethbridge with their sweetheart deal with the Police Chief, the result was we now have 1300. You then go on to justify now the majority of the 174 jobs it created as if it would have occured anyway.

    Now I quite realize you prefer to refer to the junkies, drug addicts as clients and its for good reason. A client is a source of income. That income is created by applying for, and getting Tax Dollars from the Prov and the Fed. That money pays the pay checks of all 174 people in ARCHES. Ms Manning and Ms Bourgue also get a wage but I note you do not mention that. The wages that Bourgue and Manning get are also paid by the Taxpayer, so do not kid yourself, the term non-profit is a cash cow for many. In fact take some time and find out how much a “Non-profit” like UNICEF’s CEO makes a year. Its in the millions!
    So the term “non-profit” is used as a tax haven only.

    You, specifically Mr Nish have been one of loudest supporters of ARCHES on Facebook and tend to fabricate information on the fly in an attempt to color the fact that;
    -these clients were not citizens of Lethbridge, but were from the Blood Reserve or elsewhere and suddenly we should open our arms to supporting EVERYONE elses drug addict
    – these clients would NOT BE HERE except for the sweetheart deal with the Chief of Police
    – these clients would NOT BE raising our crime rates and robbing us but for ARCHES/SCS appearance

    Life Saving Services
    The latest piece of video from Ms Bourgue used an example of a “client” that used the SCS services 10 times a day. Of course she probably did not realize at the moment what she was saying but let me help you out here for a moment. For a “Client” to use SCS 10 times a day, they would have to be high for the entire day assuming a 2 hour high per hit. So tell me why I should feel sorry or for that matter care one IOTA that a person has decided to live high 24 hours a day, and why I should, with open arms, let him into our city to rob, steal, mug and ruin our downtown just so he can stay high for his own pleasure?

    You, and others spread about as much FALSE information as you can on Facebook. You take what Ms Bourgue says and believe it to be gospel. Well she works the system and does it well. When asked about Indigenous vs “other” she will reply 55/45 knowing full well the question is regarding DRUG ADDICTS not ALL ARCHES services. Why? Because she wants to hide the fact that 90%+ of the DRUG ADDICTS are Indigenous because she knows if the number gets “airplay” the obvious conclusion is the SCS and the rest of the Pillars should be on Blood Reserve or adjacent property, but that ruins her “immediate access to the clients that downtown Lethbridge had” that are pushing out the homeless and abusing them at the Soup Kitchen.
    Using the term homeless works for people like you Mr Nish. When was the last time you found a person who makes over $2000-$3000 a month described as homeless? You disrespect the actual homeless by comparing a DRUG ADDICT who pisses away $2000-$3000 a month on his DRUG of Pleasure to a person who actually is HOMELESS and to be quite frank, I am disgusted with the comparison!

    You will note that Bourgue and Manning feel so powerful and figure they run this city that now they are ignoring their mandate which is DRUG ADDICTS are only allowed to shoot up INSIDE THE SCS, not outside, so they decided to relax that rule I guess and now they are shooting up all over their property and adjacent properties, which is against the law, against their mandate and against the rules that gave them an SCS License, but again the Police Chief decides, oh darn, lets just leave them!
    The LAPD must be just livid!
    I almost coughed up my coffee. So you think that a “company” that their sole purpose is to attract DRUG ADDICTS to Lethbridge is a good idea for Lethbridge and we should be “thankful for the employment”? We should disregard what its doing to our city, our businesses and our downtown? We should be somehow thankful that because you are attracting more and more addicts to Lethbridge who need DRUG DEALER support somehow is a good deal for us? Mr Nish, are you on drugs?


  3. Montreal13 says:

    Mr. Nish very noble and sweet. But your letter makes one think that perhaps, you haven’t turned a wheel in your life? As, one gets the impression that you only examined this issue on an emotional basis. Did you ever ask yourself why provincial and city governments implemented a SCS before at least one of the other “pillars”,was in place first? Do you think some of these pillars are in place and that we are just not party to the “facts” about them? If so,why would we not be party to these “facts”?
    People in the area of the SCS or overdose prevention site have inquired about the 2018 and 2019 operating budget for it. They were told 2018’s was 1.4 million dollars. For 2019 they couldn’t get an answer ,but hopefully that will be reported soon. Why is this info important? Because the provincial government is heavily,heavily in debt. The sad fact is that the servicing of this debt is crippling our options for many important and lifesaving services.

  4. phlushie says:

    One thing that has never been brought out about this drug addiction problem is the cost of support. For the 1300 registered addicts at the SCS we (the tax payer) are paying between $2,600.00 and $3,900,000 in financial support payments that they are shooting up into every vein in their body to get to feel good. On top of that, they are engaged in theft to support their habit and support their drug dealers with another $1,500,000 to $ 2,500,000 for drugs. On top of that with the SCS cost of $1,400,000 (hard to believe when you included salaries for 174 people and supplies like needles, narcan, latex gloves, etc.) this is a cost of $5,500,00 to $7,800,000 per year to the Lethbridge site alone.
    Then take the cost of overdose when 2 individuals of 59 and 117 times, what is the cost at $500 per time an it has not ended.

    Simple WE cannot afford it.

  5. chinook says:

    Pie in the Sky letter beckoning us to support ARCHES, the institution that does nothing but play role of enabler siphoning public money for their pathetic jobs. I’m tired of wasting money on parasites that feed off society.